On a Mediterranean beach.
F. Scheiber - Sipa
More than 600 experts from Mediterranean countries worked together on an inventory of climate and environmental change.
Drought, water reserves, marine biodiversity, agriculture, the subjects discussed are numerous.
The next IPCC report will deal with the Mediterranean region separately.
End of the game for sardinades and mussels in the Mediterranean?
It may seem anecdotal, but the concern is there, if nothing changes.
An unprecedented report warns of environmental risks in the region.
We owe it to a network of more than 600 Mediterranean experts who, like the IPCC, have decided to come together to draw up an inventory for the attention of political decision-makers.
And this one is not tender.
First, there is a general observation on global warming.
"The region is heating up a little faster than the global average," notes Joël Guiot, CNRS director in Aix-en-Provence and one of the project coordinators.
When the average annual temperature is over 1 ° C compared to pre-industrial times, we are already in the Mediterranean at +1.5 ° C, even if the Arctic region is warming even faster.
Agroecology, a solution
“Where things get complicated, he adds, is that we reach +2 ° C in summer in daytime afternoon temperatures.
This means that warming is important, with the risk of more frequent heat waves if we do not control greenhouse gas emissions.
"These heat waves have an impact on health but also on food, alert scientists.
For example, wheat, one of the pillars of local food, could see its productivity drop by 7.5% per degree of global warming.
If the objectives of the Paris agreement are not met, it is also "summer droughts which are expected to be longer and longer, with in the same movement increasingly heavy rains in the fall" .
Water reserves are therefore one of the major challenges to come.
“There are solutions such as agroecology that are water efficient,” emphasizes Joël Guiot.
This is the kind of solution that must absolutely be put in place, as quickly as possible.
This type of agriculture improves soils, which are able to sequester carbon, one of the components of greenhouse gases. ”
In the next IPCC report
As for marine biodiversity, the finding is also alarming.
Already threatened by overfishing, it is facing a warming sea, its acidification, not to mention invasive species.
“We find more and more tropical fish, such as barracuda, which come as far as the bay of Marseille, by taking the Suez Canal, continues Joël Guiot.
It completely changes the catch of fish.
We have less and less sardines, sea bream, wolves.
We can already see it, it will grow.
It will no longer be possible to breed mussels in the Mediterranean within 80 years. ”
Thanks to the mobilization of this network, the next IPCC report will contain a (small) chapter on the Mediterranean.
Until now, he didn't treat her as a whole.
"This legitimizes us", acknowledges Joël Guiot, who nevertheless remains cautious: the future of the network is still uncertain, for questions of funding.
In his more optimistic hours, he said to himself that the global pandemic could help move in the right direction: "The Mediterranean is not going to take additional measures compared to the rest of the world, but the world has become aware of the problems".
"If we apply the Paris agreements, we could lower a number of indicators," he also recalls.
It is now up to the politicians to seize the work of these experts.
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