Climate Risk Profile: Iraq

Weathering Risk’s Climate Risk Profile: Iraq provides forward-looking data on the climatic situation in Iraq with the goal of supporting resilience-oriented long-term planning. The paper summarizes projected climate parameters and related sectoral impacts under two different emissions scenarios from now until 2080.
An aerial view of desert sand dunes
© Sam Wermut; unsplash

Extreme weather events are already adversely impacting the people and environment in Iraq. Record low levels of rainfall and poor water resource management contribute to increasing food and water insecurity and related displacements. Sandstorms, extreme heatwaves and rising air temperatures are adding to the challenges faced. Confronted with such immediate risks to people’s livelihoods, trustworthy data is crucial to enable stakeholders to conduct much needed long-term planning that promotes resilience.

Climate Risk Profile: Iraq contributes to meeting this need. The climate models employed project that until 2080, under a medium to high emissions scenario, air temperatures will very likely rise by up to 4.8 °C, compared to pre-industrial levels. Such temperature increases pose a risk to the population’s ability to work and live and will increase heat-related mortalities. The climate models further include lower certainty projections for parameters including precipitation, water availability, agriculture, GDP exposure to heatwaves and ecosystems impacts. You can download the profile here.

These projected climate impacts will increase fragility risks associated with displacement and might further undermine local and regional stability.  However, reliable data can enhance capacity for action and improve operational responses towards a more climate-resilient and peaceful future. When analysed alongside localised human security data, these projections can be used to inform climate-security risk assessments to support strategic and operational risk-informed decision making and identify entry points for action.

Such data can also inform peace operations on the ground. The recent mandate renewal of UNAMI (United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq) charged the mission with assisting the Government of Iraq in facilitating regional dialogue and cooperation to address the adverse impacts of climate change. Other actors can benefit too. Through the Weathering Risk Peace Pillar, for example, the Berghof Foundation will partner with an Iraqi organisation to conduct climate-focused mediation and peacebuilding on a local level in Iraq.

The climate projections presented in the Climate Risk Profile: Iraq are the product of a collaboration between Weathering Risk and the AGRICA project from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impacts Research (PIK). They draw on the data and modelling work done by PIK’s ISIMIP project.

In this video, Lisa Binder of PIK explains the key climate change projections and related sectoral impacts as presented in Climate Risk Profile: Iraq.

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