The Mediterranean region is particularly vulnerable to global warming and risks damage “endangering the health and livelihoods” of its coastal citizens, according to a new report.
“The future of the Mediterranean is at a tipping point,” François Guerquin, director of Plan Bleu, an organization working within the United Nations Environment Program and the Mediterranean Action Plan, warns.
According to the report “the exploitation of resources and organisms, pollution and climate change are expected to exacerbate pre-existing fragilities,” endangering the regional population’s health and livelihoods.”
15% of deaths in the Mediterranean basin are already attributable to preventable environmental causes, according to the data compiled.
The area surrounding the Mediterranean sea is particularly vulnerable to climate change, with the temperature warming “20% faster than the global average.”
This climate warming has direct consequences, such as the precipitation – projected to reduce by 30% by 2080, longer fire seasons, invasive species that would threaten the region’s biodiversity and fishing, and a rise in sea level which could increase by 0.5 to 2.5 metres by the end of the century.
Rising sea levels would impact a third of the population of the approximately 510 million people living in countries on the Mediterranean region.
In addition, “the vast majority of cultural heritage sites are coastal and on a low elevation,” Guerquin points out in the report, as the region is also the world’s leading tourist destination.