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The UB takes part in the first assessment report on climate and environmental change in the Mediterranean







The final version of the first Mediterranean Assessment Report (MAR1) has been published recently. The report is prepared by an independent scientific network of Mediterranean Experts on Climate and Environmental Change (MedECC), formed by 187 scientists from 25 countries –31% of them from the southern and eastern area of the Mediterranean–. Among the experts is the professor of Atmosphere Physics M. del Carmen Llasat, who is also part of the directive committee and head of one of the chapters, as well as researchers from the Centre for Research on Ecology and Forestry Applications (CREAF) and the Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology (IRTA), centers in which the UB takes part. Also, MedECC has been awarded the North-South Prize of the Council of Europe Award.

The report, which gathers all available scientific knowledge on climate and environmental change as well as risks linked to the Mediterranean Basin, has a summary aimed at policymakers with key messages for each of the fields. According to Llasat, one of the relevant parts of the report is that the summary has been worked on and agreed on with the Union for the Mediterranean and the UN Environment Programme. Another relevant point is the cross-sectional variant of the study which includes, apart from climate information, other aspects related to environmental and social and economic changes. This report will serve as a base for a new chapter in the 6th IPCC on the Mediterranean and for adaption actions to be taken by the Mediterranean countries.

Climate and non-climate change factors

Regarding the factors of climate change origin, experts conclude that the Mediterranean basin is warming up 20% faster than the average worldwide and that by 2040 the average temperature in the Mediterranean will exceed 2.2 ºC above the preindustrial temperature and 0.7ºC above what was agreed in the Paris Agreement. The main consequences are, for each degree it warms up, rain will decrease by 4%. Regarding the level of the sea, it could be higher than 90 cm by 2100.
Among the non-climate factors analysed in the report are the increase of pollution in the air and water, urbanization and land degradation as well as reduction of crops. Experts estimated that by 2050, cereal crops will be reduced by 17%. Another of the calculated effects is that by 2100 the burnt areas will be the double they are now.

Regarding the coastal areas, the increase of sea level will have an impact on infrastructures as well as cultural inheritance and it will cause the loss of agricultural land due to salination. Moreover, about 180 million people are likely to suffer from water scarcity.

The report also analyses the increase of overfishing and the arrival of invasive species that threaten marine biodiversity. The 90% of commercialized fish population are already overexploited. The study estimates 40% of the endemic fish species to extinct and 20% of marine species to be lost by 2050.

These factors will have an impact on the health, affected by the impact of heatwaves, pollution, with an increase of diseases due to vector-borne diseases and lack of food. In general, the effects of pollution will increase due to a raise of temperatures.
Provisional conclusions of this report were advanced in October 2019 during the 4th Regional Forum of the Union for the Mediterranean, one of the founding entities of MedECC together with the Sustainable Development Advisory Council and the UN Environment Program, among other entities.

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