From the Daily Star: Urgent reform needed to curb drastic effects of climate change: report
The gloomy forecast is detailed in Lebanon’s Second National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, newly unveiled by the ministry and United Nations Development Fund (UNDP) and submitted to the U.N. Climate body for evaluation.
The 167-page report notes that temperature increases to date have been limited but forecasts major changes from 2025 which will accelerate until 2100 reaching “unprecedented levels” possibly 4 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Mountainous areas will feel the effects first, with temperatures forecast to rise by up to 2 degrees by mid-century and the north east of the country being the worst affected, the report said.
“[Simultaneously] significant reductions are projected for rainfall, which will be more severe from the coastal to the inland areas, ranging from a [decrease] of 10-20 percent for 2040 and 25-45 percent for 2090,” it added.
The ever-growing demand for energy, expected to double by 2030, will add an additional a 1-3 percent “ambient rise” in Lebanese temperatures on top of global warming, the report said. According to its findings, the energy sector, incorporating transport and manufacturing, already amounts to almost 75 percent of Lebanon’s emissions. This is followed by emissions from industrial processes and waste which each contribute around 9 percent.
“A main option” would be shifting Lebanon from heavy fossil fuels to modern sources, the report said, while endorsing Environment Ministry mitigation proposals which would see carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation peak at 18,000 Gg CO2, a measure of global warming potential from greenhouse gas emissions. Without action the levels are expected to grow from 12,000 Gg CO2 in 2010 to 32,000 Gg CO2 by 2030, the report said.
To stem greenhouse emissions, transportation would also have to be revamped, the report said. “The transport sector, with over 28 percent [and rising] of energy emissions, is also considered a major emitter due to the high per capita car ownership [set to grow from over 1.2 million in 2005 to 1.4 million in 2015] … and the age of the car fleet [over 13 years of age and 30 for service taxis] and the absence of an efficient public transport system,” it said. Proposed reforms would see public transportation swell to incorporate half of all travel at an estimated implementation cost of $400 million and an additional $100 million annual operation cost. This cost, however, is “modest compared to what is currently paid to employees as transport allowance,” the report explained.
All changes, however, would be unable to stem predicted warming of 2.2-5 degrees Celsius by 2080 and while report authors acknowledge the vulnerability of their findings, noting that data collection is patchy in Lebanon, scientists see warming within this range as virtually certain.
It will also be accompanied by sea level rises and increased droughts, which will undoubtedly hit agricultural production hard.