BEIRUT — Beirut is asking industrial nations to curb carbon emissions by almost half in the next 20 years, to lessen the potentially devastating impact of climate change on Lebanon. The appeal, which precedes this month’s climate change conference in Copenhagen, was issued by the head of the parliamentary Committee on Energy and Water, Mohamed Qabbani, following a meeting with environmentalists, representatives of local and international non-governmental organisations and the UN Development Programme in Lebanon.
“Climate change is the greatest challenge that humanity faces today. It threatens the very existence of our civilisation, in Lebanon and globally,” Qabbani said. He called for a concerted effort “to limit rising temperatures on the planet to less than 2°C,” and urged industrialised nations to reduce emissions below 1990 levels, or by about 40 percent by 2020, and by 95 percent by 2050.
Qabbani stressed that industrialised countries also have a responsibility to transfer technology to the developing world and to fund the changeover to sustainable and low-carbon development.
Turning to developing countries, he urged them to “abandon the path of emissions growth and cut emissions by 30 percent in the coming 10 years, and by up to 65 percent by 2050.” He also called for the removal of subsidies on coal and other unclean fuels.
Lebanon will take part in the Global Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen later this month, with a delegation of government officials and environmentalists headed by Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri and Minister of the Environment Mohammed Rahal, who will be armed with the report of energy, environment and water expert Professor Manfred Lange from Cyprus, on the future impact of climate change on Lebanon.
The Middle Eastern state is expected to witness a two-degree increase in temperature by 2045 and up to five degrees by 2095. The study also predicted an 18 percent decrease in rainfall by 2045 and up to 50 percent less rain by 2095.
Scientific reports show that Arab countries are likely to be the hardest hit by the negative effects of climate change. Experts predict that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels must be maintained below 350 parts per million for life to continue on planet Earth. These safe levels have already been exceeded in some places.