Cover of The Power of Deserts by Dan Rabinowitz
The Power of Deserts
Climate Change, the Middle East, and the Promise of a Post-Oil Era
Dan Rabinowitz

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August 2020
184 pages.
$14.00

Paperback ISBN: 9781503609983

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Hotter and dryer than most parts of the world, the Middle East could soon see climate change exacerbate food and water shortages, aggravate social inequalities, and drive displacement and political destabilization. And as renewable energy eclipses fossil fuels, oil rich countries in the Middle East will see their wealth diminish. Amidst these imminent risks is a call to action for regional leaders. Could countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates harness the region's immense potential for solar energy and emerge as vanguards of global climate action?

The Power of Deserts surveys regional climate models and identifies the potential impact on socioeconomic disparities, population movement, and political instability. Offering more than warning and fear, however, the book highlights a potentially brighter future—a recent shift across the Middle East toward renewable energy. With his deep knowledge of the region and knack for presenting scientific data with clarity, Dan Rabinowitz makes a sober yet surprisingly optimistic investigation of opportunity arising from a looming crisis.

About the author

Dan Rabinowitz, Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at Tel-Aviv University, is Chairman of the Association for Environmental Justice in Israel. He was Head of TAU's Porter School of Environmental Studies and Chairman of Greenpeace Mediterranean. He received the Pratt Prize for Environmental Journalism (2012) and the Green Globe Award for Environmental Leadership (2016).

"The Power of Deserts offers an important argument detailing how the Middle East could be devastated by the impact of climate change—or could generate huge amounts of renewable energy. Dan Rabinowitz skillfully communicates the difficulty these nations will face in adapting to climate change. A provocative work."

—Steven Cohen, the Earth Institute, Columbia University, and author of The Sustainable City

"Only Dan Rabinowitz, who wrote Israel's first book about climate change, has the knowledge, imagination, and optimistic spirit to look at the Middle East and offer this compelling, hopeful vision for the future."

—Alon Tal, Tel Aviv University

"In this timely, compelling book, Dan Rabinowitz deftly explores how climate change amplifies problems of inequality, injustice, and displacement in the Middle East. Rabinowitz's deep knowledge of the region, ability to clearly present complex material, and novel contention that the oil-rich Gulf states may lead the global transition to renewable energy make The Power of Deserts a must-read for anyone interested in these issues."

—Jeannie Sowers, University of New Hampshire, author of Environmental Politics in Egypt: Experts, Activists, and the State