The Mediterranean region has warmed up 20 % faster than the rest of the world since pre-industrial times, according to the conclusions of a study carried out by MedWet, the Mediterranean Wetlands Initiative.
The MedWet report paints an alarming picture
The report shows that the temperature increase in the Mediterranean region has already reached 1.5 ºC above pre-industrial levels. Experts say that Mediterranean warms up faster than any other area in the world with a projected temperature rise of 2.2 degrees Celsius by 2040.
Moreover, if additional measures to reduce effects of climate change are not taken, what’s coming next is even worse: some 250 million people will suffer from water scarcity due to the drought and there is a possibility of temperature increase of 3.8 ºC by 2100, in some parts of the region. People from Mediterranean countries are at risk of food shortages and lack of freshwater if no action is taken.
The study in fact showed that one third of the Mediterranean’s coastal population will be affected by drought, while 15 megacities of one million people are exposed to flooding. It is thus essential to identify coastal areas vulnerable to climate change (drought, flooding, acidification and extreme events), stressed Giovanni De Falco, a scientist at the National Research Institute (CNR) of Sardinia. He also insists on the importance of preserving all the components of the coastal system, such as dunes and ecosystems that favour coastal resilience.
Protection and preservation of wetlands: an answer to climate change
A wetland is a place where the land is flooded seasonally or permanently by water, either fresh, salted or somewhere in between. In the past 50 years, half of wetlands have been destroyed in the Mediterranean, as a result of human activities. MedWet said scientific studies have demonstrated that wetlands are the answer to climate change. Hence, restoring and preserving these vital ecosystems is essential to our future.
The number of people considered to be “water poor” in the Mediterranean areas is expected to rise in the next 20 years. Moreover, with the region’s warming faster than the rest of the planet, there is a persistent need for wetlands, as they offer nature-based solutions to mitigate the effects of climate change, said Alessio Satta, Medwet Executive Secretary.