The First Report on Climate and Environmental Change in the Mediterranean Basin - Current Situation and Risks for the Future (MAR1) was recently published by the MedECC Network and is accessible at https://www.medecc.org/first-mediterranean-assessment-report-mar1/. MAR1 was prepared by the independent network of Mediterranean Experts on Climate and environmental Change (MedECC). MedECC was founded in 2015 and brings together 187 scientists from 25 countries –31% of them from the southern and eastern Mediterranean. The Cyprus Institute plays a key role in MedECC and MAR1 with Professor emeritus Manfred Lange as Coordinating Lead Author in Chapter 1 (Introduction), Lead Author in Chapter 3.1 (Water) and Dr. George Zittis as Lead Author in Chapter 2 (Drivers of Change). Manfred Lange has been a member of the Steering Committee of MedECC since its inception.
The First Mediterranean Assessment Report sheds light on climate and environmental changes, their impacts and associated risks in the Mediterranean Basin for the 21st century. The assessment report looks at climate related- as well as non-climate related drivers of change and their impacts on major components of the Mediterranean system in an interdisciplinary and holistic manner.
Some of the key findings of MAR1 include:
- Temperatures in the Mediterranean region will rise 20% faster than the global average and will reach 2.2°C above pre-industrial levels by 2040, if current policies are maintained;
- Marine ecosystems are threatened by non-indigenous, invasive species and by a massive loss of marine species as a result of increasing water acidification;
- Coastal regions will face increase in sea level by up to one meter by 2100 that will impact about one third of the region’s population and will lead to significant loss of arable land, particularly in large estuaries like the Nile river mouth;
- Increases in fires will destroy more than twice the forested areas compared to present conditions;
- Water scarcity, already now affecting 180 Million people in the Mediterranean will continue to worsen;
- This and other factors will lead to decreasing crop yields and threaten food security for Mediterranean countries;
- Severe risks to human health will grow due to synergistic effects between climate warming and deteriorating air quality, particularly in urban settings.
Dealing with these impacts requires well founded strategies and measures by decision makers. MAR1 includes therefore a Policy Maker Summary that is provided in Arabic, English and French, which has been thoroughly discussed with key stakeholders before being finalized.
Various institutions including the Union for the Mediterranean, the UN Environment Program, the Mediterranean Action Plan of the Barcelona Convention and Plan Bleu have supported MedECC and MAR1.
MedECC was recently awarded the prestigious North South Prize of the Council of Europe for 2020 here.