Climate Change Risks on Morocco
The Moroccan Ministry for Environment submitted the Third National Report on the national policy in the field of climate change within the framework of the preparations for United Nations conference on climate change to be host in Morocco between 7th and 18th November 2016 in Marrakech. The report came to monitor the fragility of the country on the effects of climate change for important economic sectors namely agriculture, water resources and forests at the national level, particularly in the two chosen regions in the country: Souss Massa basin and oases regions in the eastern south.
The recent Moroccan national report on the Convention on the United Nations Framework on Climate Change starts by pulling the alarm of the expected growing in the annual temperature by 0.5 to 1 degree Celsius by 2020, and by 1 to 1.5 degrees Celsius in 2050 and 2080, as a total throughout the country.
The report which presented its findings in Rabat pointed out the downward trend of overall annual rainfall which ranges between 10 and 20%, reaching 30% in the southern provinces by 2100. The reports added that Morocco is currently experiencing climate change in view of climate fluctuations noticed between 1960 and 2005.
The annual temperature rate increased from 1 to 1.8 degrees Celsius and the precipitation declines between 3 to 30% with a dramatic decrease estimated by 26% in the north-western region of the country which is the most moisture in Morocco, according to the report.
The effects of global warming
The report stressed that despite the fact that Morocco is weak in terms of greenhouse gas emissions compared to the industrialized countries, but it is exposed to the effects of global warming, noting that Morocco will be affected by the future effects of global warming at different levels sectors of the economy and vitality, even at the level of population density of the Kingdom.
The report added that the impact of climate change began to appear clearly and well observed between 1960 and 2005. For example, the average temperature rate has risen by 1.0 degrees to more than 1.8 degrees, in addition to low rainfall decrease between 3 and 30%, with a drop by 26% in the north-western region of the kingdom.
The report proposed a set of measures to reduce emissions of greenhouse gas. It proposed a number of projects and plans in order to reduce emissions of greenhouse gas in the various exporting sectors where the potential average mitigation is about 81.9 million tons of CO2 equivalents per year by 2040.
The impact on water resources
Concerning the impact of climate change on water resources, the report stressed that the future generations will live in a period of scarcity and scarcity of water supplies, including the deterioration of water quality.
The report also suggested if the government want to reduce exposure to the risks of natural disasters related to water, they should put a warning scheme of flooding and emergency situations, and the creation of telemetry systems for planning and management of water supplies including the development of numerical models to predict the hydrological depressed areas.
The report explained that the comparative study of the potential impact of climate change on water supplies for 2020 and 2050 and also 2080 noted that water supplies will see a dramatic decline compared to the reference period 1950 -2002, where it is estimated inductive at the national level that 2050 will notice a significant reduction of water supplies.
The report pointed out that the water supplies in the Souss basin assuming the same population density and water supplies rate will worsen due to the impact of climate change. With regard to the oases areas, climate change is expected to have a significant impact on water resources. For Zagora will reach water fatigue between 2040 and 2050, while Ouarzazate is predicted to reach water scarcity in the period between 2030 and 2050.
The impact on agriculture
On the other hand, the report pointed out that rain-fed agriculture is very sensitive to climatic hazards, including droughts, as the effects of climate change lead to lower grain yields, in addition to an increase in the need for water by 7 and 12% to irrigate crops, due to increasing temperature and the evaporation of water. Climate change will increase water needs of crops irrigated between 7 and 12% due to the expected rise in temperature and evaporation.
The report showed clearly that there is no effective management of the water used in irrigated areas. The report also highlighted that the expected scenario regarding agriculture in Morocco due to the climate change is represented in the decline of water as a result of irrigation and low agricultural productivity, including rain-fed agriculture.
The animal food production in Morocco will deteriorate, due to the negative effects of the deterioration of crop production, as weather forecasts indicate that drought is gradually increasing because of low rainfall and an increase in temperature, this would have a negative impact on agricultural crops, especially by 2030, according to the report findings.
Threat to biodiversity
The report emphasized that climate change threatens biodiversity and the data showed in the report reveals that in the period between 2000 and 2010 noticed 51% of cases exposed climate change extinction.
According to the report, it is estimated the average economic cost of biodiversity lost, as a result of climate change about $ 300 million in 2010. By 2030, the number could move up to two billion dollars. The report also pointed out that the coming years will see the loss and erosion of genetic diversity, especially with regard to poor farmers as a result of being exposed to pests and diseases.
Alkhatabi professor of climatology said that “The existence of climate change to anthropogenic (caused by humans) is now indisputable.” In his report on “Climate Change in Morocco,” the professor insists that the country has no other choice but to develop a strategy combining structural changes with investment options (mitigation / adaptation).
Morocco is being hit hard by climate change as it is located at one of the most arid regions in the planet. Indeed, Morocco can play a vital role in coping with climate change since it enjoys a strategic location as an open door to Europe and Africa and it is naturally predisposed to play a catalytic role in North-South cooperation and South-South for the environmental protection as it is considered among the countries most exposed to the negative effects of climate change.
This is a guest post written by Mohammed Qasserras.
Mohammed is an academic, trainer and journalist from Morocco. He is interested in climate change, conflict resolution and youths. He has initiated a number of sustainable projects related to climate change, youths and peace.