If Greece does not take active measures to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and curb the damage being wreaked by climate change, the average temperature in 2070 will be 41C (106F), rainfall will dwindle by up to 80 percent and many coastal regions will have disappeared, experts are warning.
Rising temperatures and dwindling water will also hamper energy production and reduce the yield of agricultural cultivations, according to a report by the Athens Observatory whose findings were made public in yesterday’s Kathimerini. According to the authors of the report, rising temperatures will push city-dwellers – particularly in the polluted capital – to the northern suburbs, creating pressure for further construction on forestland.
The dramatic impact of climate change on Greece became clear this year with the occurence of three consecutive heat waves, the observatory’s director, Dimitris Lalas, said. It is not so much the intensity of the heat that demonstrates our altered climate as the frequency of heat waves, he said.
The report warned of the impact of climate change on four key areas: energy production, agriculture, water levels and coastal regions. Rising temperatures are expected to provoke a 5 percent rise in energy demand year-round. During the summer months – when millions of air-conditioners operate in unison – power demand is set to rise by as much as 23 percent.
The dwindling of water resources, as rising temperatures fuel greater water consumption, is also a concern. By 2070, Athens is expected to have 50 percent less water than the minimum amount necessary to supply its residents.
The restrictions on water consumption that will have to be applied to preserve resources will reduce the viability of hydroelectric plants as power generators, the report adds. As for the impact of climate change on agriculture, experts believe that the yield of cultivations will reduce by between 15 and 70 percent, depending on the crop.
Finally, the report warns that between 31,000 and 56,000 hectares of coastal land will disappear by 2070 due to the erosion and flooding provoked by climate change. The most vulnerable areas include Evros, the Thermaic Gulf, and the islands of Corfu, Lemnos, Crete and Rhodes