Climate experts gather in Venice to assess risks to Med

'There are ways to deal with the changes'

13 February, 11:46

    (ANSAmed) - VENICE, FEBRUARY 13 - The Mediterranean is in a state of ''precarious health'' due to climate change, pollution, and excessively exploited resources.

    However, there are ways to adapt to the changes.

    This is the message that will be sent by a conference underway at the Venice International University at its campus on the San Servolo island. The conference will continue through Thursday and features ten researchers from the editoria committee of the Mediterranean Experts on Climate and Environmental Changes (MedECC).

    The summit will be producing the final version of the First Mediterranean Assessment Report (MAR1), the first report focusing on risks associated with environmental and climate change in Mediterranean countries. Piero Lionello, professor of Oceanography and Atmospheric Physics at the University of of Salento, said that the report brings together all the factors determining the state of the Mediterranean: ''climate change, excessive exploitation of land and sea resources, pollution, and the growing presence of invasive species. We calculated impact and will provide options to adapt ourselves and limit the effects.'' In the eyes of Venice International University director Carlo Giupponi, professor of Environmental Economics at the Ca' Foscari University, ''this is the first time that such a study has focused specifically on the Mediterranean, one of the hot spots of climate change. It is still an area that has not been widely studied. Until now one could read chapters on the Mediterranean only in reports on Europe.'' MAR1 was drawn up by 85 scholars from 20 countries around the world, and similar to what happens for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), its contents will later undergo review by governments so that the latter can incorporate the findings into their policies to mitigate and adapt to climate change. The health of the Mediterranean is precarious, the experts say.

    Average temperature, they noted, has risen by 1.4 degrees since the beginning of the twentieth century, which reduces precipitation and thus water availability. Many conflicts are currently at least in part over access to water. The experts say that it must be stressed, however, that there are ways to mitigate the effects of and adapt to cimate change, such as through high-efficiency irrigation systems that would save 35% of the water currently used for crops. Some 70% of water used in the area is employed for agricultural ends, they noted. Institutions supporting the MedECC are the member states of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), an intergovernmental organisation that brings together EU countries and 15 ones from North Africa, the Middle East, and southeastern Europe. The program is receiving support from numerous other national and local institutions, both private and public, that deal with issues linked to climate change. Among them, in addition to the UfM, are Plan Bleu, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, the University of Aix-Marseille, and the Principality of Monaco.

    (ANSAmed).

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