In a miserable twist for the people who live there, Iraq has become a front-line test lab for the extreme effects of climate change. A combination of forces, accelerated by bad human decisions, has dramatically degraded Iraq’s environment. And Iraq’s experience is a harbinger of what’s coming to the rest of the world.

On this episode of the Order From Ashes podcast, Century International fellow Zeinab Shuker explores the unhappy mix of factors that has made Iraq so inhospitable.

Zeinab is leading “Living the Climate Emergency: Lessons from Iraq,” a new Century International project exploring how policymakers and researchers can draw on the case of Iraq and its neighbors to translate into action the growing consensus that the climate crisis is already here.

Century’s Climate Emergency Project will connect field researchers, policymakers, and a wider audience through roundtables, public events, podcasts, and reports. Future research in this project will place today’s crisis in a historical context; map the contours and human impact of climate change in Iraq and its neighborhood; and finally, drawing on the lessons of the extreme case in Iraq, make projections about the future and propose solutions.




  • Zeinab Shuker, fellow, Century International
  • Thanassis Cambanis, director, Century International