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Environmental law expert witnesses climate change firsthand in Israel

January 17, 2014

In Israel, high temperatures and shrinking rivers may not seem like Earth-shattering news, but Loyola University New Orleans environmental law expert Robert Verchick J.D., knows that climate change is significantly compounding those problems. The Gauthier-St. Martin Eminent Scholar at the College of Law witnessed that and more last month in Israel on one of two trips he has taken so far to study how cities around the world are adapting to climate change. In 2012, Verchick also spent six months in India for the research.

The research, supported by a Fulbright Scholar Grant of the Fulbright-Nehru Environmental Leader Program, will later culminate in a book Verchick is now writing on climate change adaptation as a companion to his earlier, “Facing Catastrophe: Environmental Action for a Post-Katrina World.” Verchick presented some of his work in progress at the Democratization and Risk Governance conference at Bar-Ilan University and Tel Aviv University Dec. 19.

As water becomes scarcer and populations in the Middle East increase, finding new sources of fresh water is paramount. While in Israel, Verchick toured the Ashkelon Desalination Plant, one of the largest of its kind in the world. The plant, which sits on the southern coast of the Mediterranean Sea in Israel, produces approximately 13 percent of the country’s domestic consumer water demand—vital to the water-scarce region.

While in Israel, Verchick also spoke about the effects of Obama’s Executive Order on Climate Change Impacts on U.S. Water Policy in Tel Aviv during a conference on steam rehabilitation hosted by the Israel Ministry of Environmental Protection.

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