Climate change Conference in Nicosia, a very timely one, SG Emeritus of World Meteorological Organization tells CNA

The nine warmest years since scientific records are available have all occurred since 2005, while over the past 40 years, each decade has been warmer than the previous one, Michel Jarraud, Secretary General Emeritus of the World Meteorological Organization, has told CNA.

Jarraud spoke to CNA on the occasion of the International Summit-Conference that will take place in Nicosia in mid-May and which will address the scientific basis of Climate Change in the region, its impact and challenges.

Asked about the significance of the Conference, he said that the Conference is a very timely one.

Jarraud pointed out that there is now overwhelming scientific evidence that climate is changing because of human activities.

‘It is having increasing impact on many socio economic sectors: health, water resources, energy, tourism, food security to name just a few. In addition we already witness an increase in the frequency and/or intensity of a number of extreme weather and climate events’ he pointed out.

Recalling that just over 2 years ago all countries agreed in Paris about the need to act decisively and urgently, he said that the Nicosia conference is bringing together leading scientists and decision makers to contribute to the elaboration and implementation of solutions in a region particularly vulnerable to climate change: the Mediterranean Basin and the Middle East.

‘It is an issue that no country can address alone and Cyprus, because of its geographical, historical and cultural specificities is in a privileged situation to make a significant contribution’ he stressed.

Invited to outline the main problems caused by the climate change in the region, Jarraud said that the region has always been sensitive to climate variability and recalled that some climatic anomalies in the past millenniums have probably been responsible for the development and/or collapse of some civilisations in the region.

However, he said, “the changes we are facing now are occurring on much shorter time scales, in a context where they may exacerbate already serious sources of tensions: access to and sharing of fresh water resources, migrations, transition to non fossil sources of energy.”

The Secretary General Emeritus of the World Meteorological Organization has told CNA that on a global scale the 9 warmest years since scientific records are available have all occurred since 2005, and over the past 40 years, each decade has been warmer than the previous one.

‘Many all-time temperature records were broken in the region in the last five years’ he underlined.

Moreover, he said that “the climatic changes we are already witnessing or anticipating, include more frequent and more intense heat waves as well as droughts and forest fires.”

This, he added, may be so severe that it may make some parts of the region no longer suitable for human settlements.

As regards the Mediterranean, he said that its sea level will rise significantly.

‘The level of the Mediterranean sea will rise significantly, affecting activities in some already highly vulnerable coastal zones, including the Nile delta. Some diseases, now confined in tropical or subtropical zones are likely to spread further north. Bio-diversity is also likely to be heavily impacted’ he warned.

Asked what he hopes that the Conference will achieve, he said that ‘with the high level participation expected, I am confident that the conference will contribute to a higher sensitization to the urgency to take bold actions at all levels: governments, local authorities, private sector, civil society and individuals.”

‘It will also highlight the need to strengthen cooperation across all countries, as well as across disciplines’ he added.

Furthermore, he said that the fight against climate change and the struggle for the sustainable development of the region, and beyond of our planet, requires an unprecedented level of cooperation.

‘Isolated action privileging the short term interests of individual countries, or sectoral interests, is a clear recipe for failure. Rather solidarity across countries and across generations is essential. The Nicosia conference can contribute to it’ he concluded.

On the 18th and 19th of May 2018, the Cyprus Institute will host the International Conference Climate Change in the Mediterranean and the Middle East: Challenges and Solutions, which will take place at the Filoxenia Conference Centre. The meeting is organised under the aegis of the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, with the support of the Representation of the European Commission in Cyprus. CNA is the media sponsor.

Source: Cyprus News Agency