Recent fires to sweep through the Carmel Mountains near Haifa in Israel are a typical example of the effects of climate change and a bitter taste of the future according to Dr. Guy Pe’er.
Pe’er and other members of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev on behalf of the Israeli Ministry of the Environmental Protection have prepared Israel’s first report to the United Nations on climate change. Entitled “Israel’s National Report on Climate Change”, the report notes that the frequency, intensity, and the extent of fires will increase due to the extension of droughts, the increase in water evaporation, and an increase in the number of intense heat waves.
The fires to hit the Carmel Mountains came after the area had suffered eight months of drought, and happened during a heat wave with temperatures 300C at a time of year when first rainfall should have taken place one or two months earlier and the temperature should have sat between 15-200C.
The report notes that if a warming of 1.5 degrees by the year 2100 takes place – which itself is now considered a conservative scenario – models predict that the desert will expand northward by 300 to 500 kilometres to the north, completely swamping Mediterranean ecosystems such as the Carmel Mountains, which is home to Israel’s largest natural pine forest.
“It’s a matter of our consumption, our society and habits. We consume more than we need and more than Earth can sustain, and by that we bring about climate change and risk our own future. Can we behave as responsible humans and change our habits?” says Pe’er