Newsroom / CNA
The nine warmest years on record all occurred since 2005, while over the past 40 years, each decade has been warmer than the previous one, Michel Jarraud, said Secretary General Emeritus of the World Meteorological Organization.
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.
He said 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," Jarraud told CNA.
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."
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.
"Changes we are facing now are occurring on much shorter timescales, in a context where they may exacerbate already serious sources of tensions: access to and sharing of freshwater resources, migrations, transition to non-fossil sources of energy."
Cooperation is needed
On a global scale the 9 warmest years on records 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."
"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."
Jarraud hgopes the conference "will also highlight the need to strengthen cooperation across all countries, as well as across disciplines".
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.
On the 18-19 May, the Cyprus Institute will host the International Conference “Climate Change in the Mediterranean and the Middle East: Challenges and Solutions”.