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Climate change and energy in the Mediterranean

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Author:
Y. Tourre
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An analysis of climate change issues in the Mediterranean region with an emphasis on Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Countries (SEMCs). SEMCs appear to be more vulnerable to climate change as they are more exposed to accelerated desertification, soil aridity and water scarcity, with economic structures that are more strongly dependent on natural resources. Technical and financial capacities are also too limited to help implement large-scale adaptation options.The document emphasises that energy lies at the heart of the climate change issue highlighting the following points:

energy is the main GHG emitting sector, and CO2 emissions in the future are likely to increase much more rapidly than the global average
hydropower production - relatively significant in SEMCs (13% of power production) – is affected by climate change
the energy demand (in particular, electricity) which is growing at a very high pace in the region, is likely to be further accelerated by the additional demand necessary to lessen the impacts of climate change (water desalination, air-conditioning of buildings, etc).

Whilst investing in energy efficiency (EE) and in renewable energies (RE), presents real economic advantages a number of obstacles related to investing on a national level, are identified:

the institutional and legal frameworks necessary for the development of a real energy efficiency market which, despite the progress made, are still often incomplete, little visible and at times instable
lack of information on the importance of the economic and financial gains for both investors and consumers of energy efficiency actions
economic impediments: subsidies for fossil energies in several SEMCs lead to fairly low end-user price; besides, a low efficiency of the economic and financial incentives for RE and EE is sometimes observed.

The document also highlights several possibilities that exist in order to gain control both on rising consumption and increasing CO2 emissions, and to mitigate the vulnerability of the energy sector in SEMCs.