UN warns of climate change danger in Mideast

Climate change is likely to reduce agricultural production and exacerbate water shortages in the Middle East, threatening the region's poor and elevating the risk of conflict over scarce resources, the United Nations warned Monday. Many countries in the Mideast already suffer from a shortage of arable land and limited access to water necessary to irrigate crops, but climate change could bring higher temperatures, droughts, floods and soil degradation, according to a report released by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization, or FAO. "Changes in temperature, rainfall and climatic extremes will only add to the stress on agricultural resources in a region where land availability and degradation, food price shocks and population growth are already a major concern," said the report, which is being discussed at an FAO regional conference in the Egyptian capital Cairo. Hunger and malnutrition caused by climate change will most likely affect those who are already poor, malnourished or dependent on local food production, according to the report.