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Climate change in Iraq: A warning for the rest of the world

A man walks on saline soil near Razzaza Lake, also known as Lake Milh, Arabic for salt, in the Karbala governorate of Iraq, Feb. 14, 2022. The lake was once a tourist attraction known for its beautiful scenery and an abundance of fish that locals depended on. Dead fish now litter its shores and the once-fertile lands around it have turned into a barren desert. (Hadi Mizban/AP)
A man walks on saline soil near Razzaza Lake, also known as Lake Milh, Arabic for salt, in the Karbala governorate of Iraq, Feb. 14, 2022. The lake was once a tourist attraction known for its beautiful scenery and an abundance of fish that locals depended on. Dead fish now litter its shores and the once-fertile lands around it have turned into a barren desert. (Hadi Mizban/AP)

The shifting landscape of Iraq is laying bare just how dangerous and damaging climate change could be globally. Once a verdant and fertile land, even as recently as the 1980s, Iraq becomes more arid each year as desertification spreads.

The causes range from the obvious — hotter temperatures, less rain — to the less obvious — abandoned water treaties with upstream nations and government corruption.

New York Times international correspondent Alissa J. Rubin spent months journeying across the nation and gauging the impact throughout the country’s cities, towns and rural communities. She joins host Scott Tong to unpack her findings with vivid real-life stories of those who call Iraq home.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.