At the end of the month, the annual climate conference COP26 in Glasgow, probably the most important gathering in recent decades, will be opened. The timing is 9 years before the target year 2030, where it will be possible to examine in practice the worth of commitments made 15 years ago at the COP21 Paris Conference, were aimed to reducing the GHG emissions, on state level. Yet, although it is still early to evaluate the results of the coming conference, it is already fair to determine that the doubt whether states would meet these COP21 committed values, is not negligible.
Furthermore, countries around the globe have announced GHG reduction objectives through their NDCs and, in some cases, very ambitious as net zero emission targets, far beyond the average of South Mediterranean countries, or the Middle East countries, including Israel.
When examining the limited published data so far, only few countries have referred to the manmade trap whether their targeted fossil fuel production is compatible with the Paris Agreement goals. That is, focusing on reducing greenhouse gas emissions per se makes it possible for not determined governments to ignore their responsibility for the source of emissions, and therefore does not accelerate the transition to renewable energies, although it required if they want to meet Paris goals as scheduled.
And if someone needs to be convinced that the governmental efforts so far have not been much effective, the last summer in Med region provided visual approval that seemed like an appetizer to a nightmare scenario of climate policy that is escaping decision-makers, and the recognition that the climate crisis is far more severe than previous estimates. A situation that requires not to break the “business as usual” routine of Paris version, but to challenge the basic assumptions in coping with the climate crisis.
The following article addresses the recent steps taken in Northern Mediterranean countries, and outlines new framework based on three points, that internalization and adoption of which will greatly assist stabilize the climatic emergency in the Mediterranean region, socially and economically. The 3 points are:
- The internalization of climate inequality as part of state-level climate policy, and as part of defined regional collaborations, such as the Mediterranean or Middle East geo-political zones.
- Outlining of a long-term climate emergency policy, based on principles of climatic justice and reducing gaps in regional scale in the implementation of low carbon economy policy, focusing on renewable sources. This policy should be applied in wider geographical circles than state level that was agreed in the Paris protocol and in geographical circles of climate induced migration. For example, North Africa as transit stations for migration to Euro-Med, or more continental areas as the Sahel and Lake of Chad which became climatic zones of forced displacement for millions of people. The Middle East, and even the Far East, are also should be accounted due to the link to climate migration, being source for waves of refugees partly due to climate risks and large-scale economic displacement.
- The need to create Agenda for climate democracy, which will formulate a core social program and to focus on educational learning programs both for shaping awareness and for building climate resilience of community and civic engagement in climate governance.
The outline for the above-mentioned ‘climatic triangle approach’- where interlinked climate justice in the immediate zone (state level) together with wider geographical region vulnerable for climate change and already turned to be source for cross continental migration, and the theme of democracy and governance as a framework for the long term that shape climate strategy on the international level and among Euro-Med decision-makers is at the focus of new initiative the article author and colleagues from Med countries have working for in recent months
The September meeting of heads of nine countries on the European shores of the Mediterranean, EU members, led to sign on ‘Athens climate declaration’, highlights not only the fact that “the environment does not recognize political boundaries”, certainly when repeated occurrences of wildfires in July-August attested, but mainly highlights the need for cooperation between North-South Mediterranean countries, and not only among the Northern Med countries, when targeting action plan for climate emergency strategy.
As part of a new initiative of ‘Climate and Migration in Euro-Med region’ mentioned above, we will focus on Albania, which is dealing with the climate crisis and the migration crisis almost alone. Middle Eastern countries also need to be part of a regional climate agreement for collaboration. For example, Jordan, which faced the ‘forced absorption’ of millions of Syrians on its land, refugees were housed in an arid region in north-east of the Hashemite kingdom, with low carrying capacity of natural resources, so without sustainable climate management, such mass scale absorption will be an accelerator factor in economic deterioration of Jordan and as multiplier threat for sustainability of the region, including as fuel for ignite conflicts between local population groups compete on poor resources.
Israel as well, although having the technological advantage over its neighbors which provide capacity to deal with climate change’ consequences, specifically in arid region, but it also has an official policy that alienates the issue of migration, in this case from Africa. And surely low-income South Mediterranean countries that are dealing with difficulties and lack of skilled programs in adopting the Green Deal program.
2021 more than any year before during the “ecological era”, proves that the model for global forecasts based on IPCC as literally defined “Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change” is probably outdated and our region should adopt the IPCCRC in the meaning of the “International Platform for Climate Change Regional Collaborations”.
The European Green Deal program must develop new mechanisms to help combat energy poverty and targeting gaps in climate regional objectives, and to facilitate the transition to renewable energy in weakened countries and anchor plans for climate resilience, as well as for climate governance in which citizens and various stakeholders are able to influence, part of shared efforts for long term regional sustainability. After COP26, will publish our report targeting reducing the gaps in climate governance in Med region. Stay tuned!
Carmit Lubanov (Israel) together with Dr. Mark Causon (Malta) are heads of new initiative for Climate and Migration in Euro-Med.