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CLIMATE CHANGE IN ESCWA REGION: A REASON FOR CONCERN By HOSNY KHORDAGUI, Ph.D. WATER & ENVIRONMENT TEAM LEADER UN-ESCWA FIRST MENANEE CONFERENCE ON ENVIRONMENTAL.

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Presentation on theme: "CLIMATE CHANGE IN ESCWA REGION: A REASON FOR CONCERN By HOSNY KHORDAGUI, Ph.D. WATER & ENVIRONMENT TEAM LEADER UN-ESCWA FIRST MENANEE CONFERENCE ON ENVIRONMENTAL."— Presentation transcript:

1 CLIMATE CHANGE IN ESCWA REGION: A REASON FOR CONCERN By HOSNY KHORDAGUI, Ph.D. WATER & ENVIRONMENT TEAM LEADER UN-ESCWA FIRST MENANEE CONFERENCE ON ENVIRONMENTAL ECONOMICS & SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT BIBLIOTHECA ALEXANDRINA Alexandria, Egypt 25 October 2007

2 FACTS  The Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC has confirmed that anthropogenic GHG emissions are having significant & negative impacts on CC & emphasized that CC is the most significant environmental threat of the 21st century.  Despite the fact that ESCWA Countries didn’t contribute significantly to Global Warming, they will be disproportionately affected by CC.  The Report of Sir Nicholas Stern last year has provided the most comprehensive assessment of the economics of CC concluding that the costs of inaction will far outweigh the costs of early action.

3 ESCWA BACKGROUND INFORMATION  The ESCWA Region is comprised of 13 economically & politically diverse countries & territories extending from Egypt in the West to Oman in the South-East.  Collectively, countries in the ESCWA region have been greatly blessed with natural resources in one respect, namely their large combined oil & natural gas reserves. But they have been less fortunate with respect to two other critical resources namely productive land & renewable water resources.  The region suffer from fast population growth, chronic political instability, high unemployment & unsustainable pattern of development.  Relentless efforts underway to rectify the situation will most likely be derailed by CC due to more frequent droughts, floods, sea surges in urban & coastal areas, changes in temperature & precipitation patterns.

4 POTENTIAL IMPACTS OF CC ON WATER RESOURCES BACKGROUND:  ESCWA Region is considered the most arid in the world with 11 of the 13 countries lying below the water poverty line of 1000 m 3 /p/year. While 80% of water resources are used for irrigation, fast population growth & development will reduce per capita share to half by  Some 80% of the renewable fresh water resources originate from outside the region to supply downstream countries namely Egypt, Iraq & Syria with most of their fresh renewable water resources.  Other countries in the region rely on very limited renewable water resources & depend on non-conventional water resources including treated wastewater, agricultural runoff & desalinated seawater (GCC).

5 GENERAL CONCERS:  All predictions indicate that CC will reduce the overall amount of rain by 20% & will increase variability making it much harder to manage a critically scarce water resources in the region.  Even if emissions of GHGs were stabilized today, increases in temperature & associated impacts, including water availability & flooding, will continue for many decades to come.  Mitigation of GHGs is beyond the scope of the water sector.  Coping with the most severe consequences of CC would require major changes in water management & allocation systems.  Most managers in ESCWA countries are under the influence of a water resources management culture that is based on minimum variability (Egypt, Syria & Iraq – agreements with up-stream countries for secured share). GCC countries are also securing their water demand through desalination. The introduction of uncertainty elements in water resources management in the region represent an unprecedented challenge to water mangers in ESCWA countries.

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10 Change in annual runoff by relative to , in percent, under the SRES A1B emissions scenario and based on an ensemble of 12 climate models (Milly et al., 2005).

11 POTENTIAL IMPACT OF CC ON WATER SECTOR IN ESCWA REGION I - IMPACTS OF CC ON GROUNDWATER RESOURCES: 1.Groundwater supplies will be at great risk from rising sea levels. Higher sea level would cause seawater intrusion leading to salinization of ESCWA groundwater aquifers close to coastlines. Regular excessive withdrawal from aquifers will magnify the problem. 2.Many CC models suggest greater precipitation variability & that downpours will in general become more intense. This would increase runoff & flash floods while reducing the ability of water to infiltrate the soil to recharge aquifers in the ESCWA Region.

12 II - IMPACT 0F CC ON SURFACE WATER RESOURCES: 1.As for the Nile, predictions range from an increase of 30% to a decrease of 70% in runoff. CC may also reduce Euphrates & Tigris flow by as much as 30-50%. 2.As more winter precipitation falls as rain instead of snow in Syria, Lebanon & parts of Iraq, water managers will have to balance the need to fill constructed reservoirs for water supply & the need to maintain reservoir space for winter flood control. Additional storage need to be developed to damp (equalize) variability with high economic & environmental costs. 3.Diminished snow melt (Lebanon & Syria) flowing through dams will decrease the potential for hydropower production. 4.CC will have serious implications on winter tourism in Lebanon. Declines in snow-pack would lead to later starting & earlier closing dates of the ski season. 5.ESCWA Countries experienced extreme weather events. Changes in precipitation, combined with rising temperatures & reduced snow cover, will have impacts on water quality & quantity, requiring water managers to incorporate CC in their planning & investment decisions.

13 III - IMPACT OF CC ON DESALINATION INDUSTRY: 1.Desalination is projected to be one of the main future options to fill the gap between water supply & demand particularly in GCC Countries. 2.CC leading to higher temperature of cooling water for power- desalination plants will reduce the efficiency of the operation. 3.High salinity resulting from evaporation of feed water in semi- enclosed sea water intakes might affect production capacity of desalination plants. 4.Higher temperature of near-shore seawater might increase biological content & algea blooms leading to the use of higher doses of chlorine at intakes to control bio-fouling. 5.Higher chlorine doses would chemically react with natural organic precursors to form the carcinogenic THMs. These brominated VLHs would appear in the produced drinking water by co-distillation.

14 IV - IMPACTS OF CC ON WATER QUALITY: 1.Higher water temperature will affect redox potential, DO cocentration, stratification, mixing rate, biological growth & self purification (bio-degradation) with significant consequences on water quality. 2.Higher temperature will promote algal blooms & increase the bacterial & fungal content. Chlorination of water for disinfection would lead to bad odor & taste & the formation of toxins (THMs). 3.Extreme events of flood might lead to more nutrients, SS, pathogens, pesticides, heavy metals & toxins washed into water bodies following intense raining. On the other hand, drought will lead to drop in groundwater levels, surface water stagnation; eutrophication; accumulation & biomagnification of pollutants. 4.In ESCWA region numerous diseases can be transmitted either by drinking or by consuming crops irrigated with water polluted through extreme events of rainfall or extended drought.

15 V – COSTS OF CC ON WATER SECTOR: 1.The socio-economic costs & possible benefits of CC on water sector in ESCWA Region is very difficult to determine. Costs would include the costs of damages (displacement due to extreme events, deterioration in water quality, erosion, loss of biodiversity, etc.) & the costs of adaptation to reduce or avoid damage (new dams & reservoirs, desalination plants, water treatment plants, pumping stations, dikes, etc.). 2.With respect to water supplies & sanitation, the costs will be significant to accommodate high variability & to re-accustom the water & wastewater treatment infrastructures to cater for different water characteristics.

16 VI – EMBEDDING ADAPTATION & SUSTAINABILITY ASPECTS OF WRM IN ESCWA REGION: 1.CC is a newly introduced driver in WRM in ESCWA Region. However, there are other factors of prominence in the region in which CC need to be integrated. For instance, developments in flood prone areas will increase vulnerability to CC. Therefore, adaptation strategies need to be embedded within existing national policies, legislative & institutional frameworks. 2.In ESCWA Countries, difficult policy choices have to be made between additional capital investments or advocacy campaigns to promote behavioral changes. To close the gap between water supply & demand, ESCWA Countries, particularly GCC, need to reconsider their reliance on supply management to favor demand management policies. 3.From the SD perspective, the top priority for adaptation in the water sector in ESCWA Countries would be the reduction in the vulnerabilities of people (particularly the poor & disadvantaged) towards changes in hydro ‑ meteorological trends, increased climate variability & extreme events.

17 4.ESCWA Countries need to protect & restore ecosystems that provide critical land & water resources & services from the impacts of CC. 5.It is plausible that adaptation might offset mitigation of GHGs emissions. Providing additional water supplies to alleviate droughts can often involve more investment in energy, (desalination plants, pumped water transfer schemes, etc.). Efforts should be made to link adaptation to mitigation which currently operate separately at all governance levels in the region. 6.Policies are available for ESCWA Countries to realize adaptation through sharing losses, preventing effects, research & education, etc. CC impacts can be minimized by structural & technological innovations and/or regulatory & institutional reforms. 7.Implementation of CC adaptation strategies within national water resources strategic plans will require interaction & horizontal coordination between multiple levels of government institutions and the involvement of stakeholders, civil societies, business sectors & the public.

18 The Challenge Existing institutional arrangements & policy instruments are designed to support a vertical sector-based culture of WRM NOT IWRM Agric Environ Industry Water Water Res. Management Policy Public Participation IWRM Policy AgricIndustryEnvironWaterEcon MOVING TOWARDS IWRM IN ESCWA COUNTRIES Econ Public Participation

19 VII –POLITICAL IMPLICATION OF CC IMPACT ON WATER RESOURCES: Impacts of CC on trans-boundary water resources in the ESCWA Region would probably raise the issue of equity & increase the potential for political conflict. 1.If CC has its predicted impacts on water resources in the region, inter & intra-regional conflicts could be sparked by competition over varying & declining natural resources with up-stream countries. 2.Furthermore, displacement & mass immigration by cross-border movements of environmental refugees might lead to North-South political conflicts.

20 POTENTIAL IMPACT OF CC ON AGRICULTURE 1.ESCWA Region is home to large agriculture industry that employs millions of workers and if climate change makes the region drier &/or warmer, pressure on agriculture would intensify reducing the quantity & quality of agricultural products. 2.Although higher CO 2 levels can stimulate plant production & increase plant water-use efficiency, ESCWA farmers will face greater water demand for crops & much less reliable water supply as temperatures rise. 3.Continued CC is likely to alter the abundance, intensity, frequency & types of many pests, lengthen pests’ breeding season, & increase pathogen growth rates. 4.High temperatures is expected to stress dairy cows, reducing milk production substantially. As temperatures climb above 32.22°C milk production drops by up to 20 percent.

21 5.Noxious & invasive weeds currently infest farmlands in ESCWA Region, costing millions of dollars annually in control measures & lost productivity. CC is likely to shift the ranges of existing invasive plants & weeds, and alter competition patterns with native plants. 6.CC including limited water supplies would restrict present agricultural productivity and threaten the food security of some countries in the ESCWA region. 7.Changing crop types & introducing more efficient irrigation systems can provide significant win-win options for conservation of resources to offset the projected impacts of CC in ESCWA Countries.

22 POTENTIAL IMPACT OF CC ON SEA LEVEL 1. Global mean sea level has already risen by 15 cm during 20 th century at an estimated rate of 1.7 mm/year. Since 1993, sea level has been rising by 3 mm/year. 2. Depending on the projection model, sea levels will increase another 9 to 88 cm by the year This trend is expected to continue for hundred of years even after atmospheric temperature stabilize. 4. Low-lying coastal zones such as the Nile Delta, marsh-lands in South Iraq & small island are extremely vulnerable. Already sandy shorelines are retreating. 5. Sea water intrusion is reducing quality & quantity of freshwater supplies. 6. Higher sea levels could also cause extreme events such as high tide, storm surges is already threatening key economic sectors in ESCWA Countries such as fish aquaculture, agriculture & tourism settlements.

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25 7.Higher temperature might affect coral reefs & sea grass in ESCWA Countries & is altering ocean circulation, upwelling & wave patterns. 8.Egypt would lose between 12 and 15 percent of its most fertile arable land. Given Egypt's predicted population for 2050, it is realistic to anticipate that sea level rise may displace more than 14 million people. "This prognosis, moreover, is cautious & conservative". 9.Many beaches in ESCWA Countries may shrink in the future because of rising seas and increased erosion from winter storms. Prior to each summer season, Alexandria beaches are protected from erosion through sand replenishment (or “nourishment”) programs, which bring in sand from outside sources to replace the diminishing supply of natural sand. 10.Sand beach nourishment is very costly. As global warming continues, the costs of beach nourishment programs will rise, and in some regions beach replenishment may no longer be viable.

26 POTENTIAL IMPACT OF CC ON PUBLIC HEALTH IN ESCWA REGION 1.Continued global warming will affect public health in the region by exacerbating air pollution, intensifying heat waves & expanding the range of infectious diseases. 2.The primary concern is not so much the change in average climate but the projected increase in extreme conditions (extended drought flooding, & heat waves, hurricanes, etc.), which pose health risks, injuries, famine & diseases outbreaks. 3.People in ESCWA mega cities are currently experiencing some of the worst air quality, with large percent of the population living in areas that violate the WHO air quality standard for either ground-level ozone or airborne particulate matter. These pollutants can cause or aggravate a wide range of health problems including asthma, emphysema, acute respiratory & cardiovascular diseases. Higher temperatures are expected to increase the frequency, duration & intensity of conditions conducive to air pollution formation.

27 4.As temperatures rise, ESCWA population (particularly the poor, the children & the elderly) will face greater risk of death from dehydration, heat stroke/exhaustion, heart attack, stroke & respiratory distress caused by extreme heat. 5.As temperature rise, air quality could be further compromised by increases in wildfires (case of Lebanon) & spontaneous ignition of land-filled municipal refuse, which emit fine particulate matter that can travel long distances depending on wind conditions. 6.Higher temperature in the ESCWA Region might alter the geographical distribution of species & vectors that transmit diseases such as mosquitoes, ticks, bed-bugs, rodents, etc. 7.The impact of CC on reducing fresh water supplies and degrading water quality would lead to more frequent outbreaks of water borne diseases.

28 IMPACTS OF CC ON FORESTS & ECOSYTEMS IN ESCWA REGION 1.Models project little change in most arid or desert vegetation types i.e., most lands in ESCWA Countries that are deserts are expected to remain unchanged. However, for semi-arid areas, greater changes in the composition & distribution of vegetation types (grasslands, rangelands & woodlands) are anticipated. 2.ESCWA region is one of the most climatically & biologically diverse areas, supporting hundreds of plant & animal species. CC is expected to pose a threat by altering the distribution & character of natural vegetation causing further desertification. 3.Hotter, drier climate could promote more wildfires in Mount Lebanon by drying out & increasing the flammability of forest vegetation.

29 THE WAY FORWARD (POST 2012) BRIEF ON THEMATIC DEBATE OF UN-GA ON CC AS A GLOBAL CHALLENGE 1.According to Sir Nicholas Stern, “the do nothing approach would ultimately result in the loss of 5% of global economic income, whereas “strong & timely action now” could reduce the costs of CC to about 1% of global income”. Our goal should be to reduce CO2 in atmosphere at 450 ppm. To achieve this, 50% reduction in global emissions are needed by According to De Boer, Koyoto Protocol is not sufficient to deliver the emission reductions needed to tackle CC. We need to think beyond In such a case, a target of 75% reduction by 2050 on the part of developed countries would be required, along with an intermediate target of 20-30% reduction by It has been suggested to move beyond the Koyoto Protocol’s existing CDM, which cannot provide emissions reductions at the scale needed. 4.According to El-Ashry, the elements to be considered for a post 2012 mitigation strategy would include (1) Differentiated targets & timetables that reflects issues of equity & fairness, (2) Forests & carbon sinks, (3) Market- based mechanisms, (5) Adaptation financing mechanisms, (6) Technology development, transfer & financing.

30 4.Both North & South would have to take action based on equal but differentiated responsibility. Neither would have free pass to continue business as usual. 5.Synergy should be established between CC mitigation strategies & national development policies in area such as energy efficiency, fuel substitution, renewables, afforestation, water, land & waste management. 6.Jeffrey Sachs indicated that focus should be on key sectors, namely energy, transportation & deforestation as a low cost large-scale pro-poor solution. Reliance on fossil fuel is inevitable & carbon capture & storage technologies need to be developed further as viable technologies. 7.Sachs argued that a Carbon Tax would be much easier to regulate & monitor than a Carbon Market.

31 THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION


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