Climate change is already having devastating effects in Saudi Arabia. This report collates scientific projections of how climate impacts will play out up to 2050 and 2100, on low, medium and high emissions pathways.
The science shows that Saudi Arabia will experience devastating climate impacts if it follows a high-emissions pathway. Without urgent action, Saudi Arabia will see an 88% increase in the frequency of agricultural drought by 2050. Heatwaves will last more than 4,242% longer and the combination of sea level rise, coastal erosion and fiercer weather will cause chaos for Saudi Arabia’s economy, which stands to lose around 12.2% of GDP by 2050.
The faster Saudi Arabia adopts low-carbon policies, the less the climate impacts cascade and the more manageable they become. Limiting temperature rise to 2°C will see the cost of climate impacts in Saudi Arabia drop to just 4.8% of its GDP by 2050 and 0.78% by 2100.
Image © Julia Petrenko / Greenpeace
Explore past, present and future scenarios for climate change in Saudi Arabia. This section uses the most up to date climate science models to describe how climate change will affect temperature and precipitation trends in Saudi Arabia. The research shows that on a high carbon pathway, temperatures in Saudi Arabia could increase by as much as 2.6°C by 2050. On a low carbon pathway this drops to 1.6°C.
How have sea temperatures changed in the oceans surrounding Saudi Arabia, and what do future climate trends mean for the vital ecosystems and livelihoods supported by Saudi Arabia’s oceans? This section shows how surface sea temperatures in Saudi Arabia could increase by 1.6°C by 2050 in a high carbon scenario, triggering a sharp rise in ocean acidification and reducing fish catch potential by as much as 30%.
A changing climate could have devastating effects on Saudi Arabia’s coastal settlements, infrastructure and ecosystems. Rising sea levels, coastal erosion and changing storm patterns could see 0.21 million people exposed to devastating floods by 2050, if it follows a high carbon pathway. Following a low carbon pathway and investing in climate-resilient coastal infrastructure will help Saudi Arabia avoid the worst coastal impacts.
Clean water is the foundation of all life. This section shows the increasing impacts from climate change threaten our access to water in Saudi Arabia. Longer droughts, rising sea levels and more extreme weather will increase in the coming decades, choking off our most precious resource. In turn, that impacts agriculture, fisheries, infrastructure and tourism – causing massive economic costs. Only a low-carbon pathway can limit the damage.
Agriculture is a core element of Saudi Arabia’s economy, contributing approximately 2.6% of the country’s annual GDP. This section shows the past, present and future impacts of climate change on Saudi Arabia’s agriculture sector. It shows how climate change will impact crop productivity and put additional strain on Saudi Arabia’s water resources, with droughts causing water demand to increase by up to 34.2% by 2050 – even in a low carbon scenario.
Forests are key to clean healthy air – supporting thriving ecosystems and economies. This section shows the past, present and future impacts of climate change on forests in Saudi Arabia. If carbon levels remain high, huge losses in forest land will grow, damaging Saudi Arabia’s agriculture, forestry and tourism industries. With urgent action, a low-carbon pathway will protect our forests from the worst impacts.
Cities in Saudi Arabia face many threats from climate change. Unless we take urgent action, increasing extreme weather will batter urban communities across the country – damaging crucial infrastructure and causing massive economic losses. Increasing heatwaves and worsening air quality will harm urban residents’ health and even cost many their lives.
The health of our planet is essential to the health of people in Saudi Arabia. Without urgent action, climate change will drive longer heatwaves, rising sea levels and deadly storms, harming Saudi Arabia’s economy. Higher poverty means worse health impacts. But on a low-carbon pathway, Saudi Arabia can improve health outcomes and save lives.
Rising temperatures and more severe heatwaves will affect Saudi Arabia’s energy system and change the profile of its energy demand.
Heatwaves, droughts, fires, floods and brutal storms. Saudi Arabia faces multiple threats from climate change. Across sectors – agriculture, fisheries, infrastructure, tourism and more – the costs to the economy could be massive.
This section explores Saudi Arabia’s historic and current emissions as compared with global emissions, and the targets and commitments it has put in place. Saudi Arabia is the 13th biggest emitter among the G20 countries. Urgent political action is necessary in Saudi Arabia to secure a low carbon future.