In Egypt, A Rising Sea — And Growing Worries About Climate Change's Effects
On Egypt's Mediterranean coast, August should be prime tourist season. But the seaside restaurants in Alexandria are almost empty. Worries over security are keeping a lot of foreign tourists away. But there's a much bigger worry looming: that hotter weather and a disappearing shoreline could make Egypt's prospects even worse.
Scientists generally agree that human-made climate change – the effect of greenhouse gas emissions from things like cars and factories – is making the sea level higher and its waters warmer.
Rising sea levels are affecting the Nile River delta, the triangle where the Nile spreads out and drains into the sea. It's where Egypt grows most of its crops. According to the World Bank, Egypt — with its already high poverty rates and rapidly growing population — is one of the countries that will be most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
Hazem Adel is already seeing some of those changes firsthand. He sells hats and woven handbags at a stall in front of a wall of concrete barriers on the Alexandria waterfront.
"The water used to flood and cover the people and their cars," says Adel. "That's why the government put up the barriers – to stop the high water so it won't flood the street."
All along the waterfront, the government has erected barriers to counter increasingly fierce winter storms. There's no beach on this part of the shore. The sand washed away years ago.