Thongchai Thailand

ABOUT THE POWER OF DESERTS

Posted on: February 13, 2021

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THIS POST IS A BRIEF CRITICAL REVIEW OF THE BOOK THE POWER OF DESERTS.

Cover of The Power of Deserts by Dan Rabinowitz

The book, The Power of Deserts, by Dan Rabinowitz {LINK: https://www.amazon.com/Power-Deserts-Climate-Promise-Post-Oil/dp/1503609987 says that the hardship caused by global warming in the desert will push the oil economies of the Middle East to withdraw from their oil economy and embrace climate action.

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.”

EDITORIAL REVIEW BY AMAZON.COM

The Power of Deserts offers an important argument detailing how the Middle East could be devastated by the impact of climate changeor 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. 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. 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.
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). There are no “customer reiews” at Amazon.com for this book.

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CRITICAL COMMENTARY

The essential hypothesis in “The Power of Deserts” is that the oil rich Middle East is a hot desert and therefore will be hard hit by global warming while at the same time the vast expanse of desert with all that sunshine seems like an ideal place for a vast expanse of solar farms. Based on these assessments, the author imagines that Arabs will cave in and voluntarily make a dramatic transition from champions of fossil fuels to champions of climate action and do the world a favor by becoming the world’s largest solar farm. {“The Power of Deserts” is all that electric power generated by the desert}

However, the warming rate there is about the global average of about 0.2C per decade and the forecast of the horror of a collapse of agriculture due to climate change is not very relevant to a desert economy. It should also be noted that climate science has a history of failed regional forecasts of drought and agricultural failure. Syria is an example.

That the Middle East should take climate action because climate change COULD turn into a horror for desert cultures is the invocation of the precautionary principle, an assessment based on inadequate information.

It should also be noted that the Arabian Empire that had once stretched from Iran to North Africa and up to Spain, achieved this zenith at a time of global warming during the Medieval Warm Period.

There is also a hint of colonialist racism in the assessment that climate change, what the industrial revolution of the West had wrought, has created a new urgency for the West that requires more solar farms and the Arabian desert would make a fine solar farm what with all that sunshine, so little rain, and the virtual absence of shade from trees. The conversion of the vast desert of the Arabs into solar farms will serve the needs of their former colonial lords and so therefore, the Arabs should give up their petroleum economy and go into the solar business.

The Power of Deserts book may be more racism and climate activism than science.

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