Sunday, October 12, 2008

Mediterranean region to be hardest hit by climate change – EU report

Malta Independent: The economies of southern Europe and the Mediterranean, including Malta, are forecast to suffer the most adverse effects of climate change, according to a new report drawn up by the European Environment Agency, the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre and the World Health Organisation.

The report warns that the effects of global warming will create turmoil for the region’s energy demand levels, agricultural productivity, water availability, ecosystems and summer tourism. The report also forecasts more deaths from more intense and frequent heat waves, a steady decrease in precipitation, lower crop yields, higher risks of desertification, and a high risk of biodiversity loss.

Climate change, according to the report, will also bring heightened risks of mosquito-borne diseases as global warming is expected to extend the habitats of virus-carrying mosquitoes. The severity of natural disasters, such as flooding and heat waves, is meanwhile expected to increase steadily, with the most noticeable changes occurring in the second half of this century.

The joint report also issues a stiff warning that the tourism industry, on which much of the Mediterranean and of course Malta thrives, is particularly susceptible and that the industry faces significant adaptation costs.

The report stresses that adaptation responses such as economic diversification will be crucial if economic losses from climate change are to be limited….

Malta, Marsaxlokk, St. Lucian's tower, shot by Thyes, who has generously the image into the public domain via Wikimedia Commons. Thank you, Thyes

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