CR 62:59-70 (2014)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/cr01257

Egypt’s economic vulnerability to climate change

Joel B. Smith1,*, Bruce A. McCarl2, Paul Kirshen3, Russell Jones1, Leland Deck1,12, Mohamed A. Abdrabo4, Mohamed Borhan5, Akram El-Ganzori6, Mohamed El‑Shamy7, Mohamed Hassan7, Ibrahim El-Shinnawy8, Mohamed Abrabou9, Mosaad Kotb Hassanein9, Mona El-Agizy10, Mohamed Bayoumi11, Riina Hynninen11

1Stratus Consulting, 1881 Ninth Street, Suite 201, Boulder, Colorado 80302, USA
2Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843-1342, USA
3University of New Hampshire, 83 Main Street, Durham, New Hampshire 03824, USA
4Alexandria Research Center for Adaptation to Climate Change (ARCA), Institute of Graduate Studies and Research, Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt
5Adaptation of the Nile Delta to Climatic Changes Project, Alexandria, Egypt
6Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, Cairo, Egypt
7Planning Center, Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, Cairo, Egypt
8Coastal Research Institute, Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, Cairo, Egypt
9Agricultural Research Center, Ministry of Agriculture & Land Reclamation, Giza, Egypt
10Climate Change Risk Management Programme in Egypt, Cairo, Egypt
11United Nations Development Programme, Cairo, Egypt
12Present address: US Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Climate change is likely to have profound economic consequences for Egypt. This study evaluates the potential economic impacts resulting from changes in water supplies, agriculture, air quality, heat stress, and tourism. Other sensitive sectors, including water pollution, energy consumption, and biodiversity, were not assessed. Sea level rise threatens agricultural land and property in the Nile Delta. Higher temperatures can reduce agricultural production, a situation that can be made worse with lower water supplies. As a result, unemployment and food prices may increase, risking increased malnutrition. Human health in Cairo could be adversely affected by increased particulate matter and heat stress, potentially leading to thousands of deaths valued at tens of billions of Egyptian pounds per year. Annual tourist revenues are estimated to decrease as well. Total economic losses for the sectors mentioned above are estimated to reach ~200 to 350 billion Egyptian pounds (EGP; US $36-64 billion), which is equivalent to 2-6% of future gross domestic product.


KEY WORDS: Climate change · Egypt · Economy


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Cite this article as: Smith JB, McCarl BA, Kirshen P, Jones R and others (2014) Egypt’s economic vulnerability to climate change. Clim Res 62:59-70. https://doi.org/10.3354/cr01257

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