Ways In and Out of Vulnerability to Climate Change: Abandoning the Mubarak Project in the Northern Nile Delta, Egypt



Abstract:  Climate change is already exerting significant pressure on humanity, but some people have the resources to cope, while others do not. What, then, determines vulnerability to climate change? This article presents a case study of one site of vulnerability in Egypt, known as the Mubarak Project villages on the shores of the Mediterranean. The soil of these villages is now undergoing rapid salinization, forcing farmers to apply sand to “elevate” their fields above the rising salty water table—but not all farmers can afford to buy the requisite sand. Accumulation by dispossession under the Mubarak regime has pushed some people towards the frontline of climate change, while at the same time denying them the resources to stay there. Using our case, we explore the connection between accumulation by dispossession and vulnerability to climate change and ask if an end to the former could reduce the latter in Egypt.