The desertification of Cyprus has started.
One of the most important issues for young adults currently is climate change. We all see the news of activists going out in the world wanting to fight for climate change but you always think that this is someone else's problem. However, Renewable-Labs is here to change your viewpoint. Based on research done by many (you can find sources on the bottom) Mediterranean countries will be affected the most by climate change in comparison to other European countries.
The Effect of climate change
The effects of climate change has started already to affect Cyprus through changes in weather patterns and longer droughts. These effects are going to be exacerbated in the next 30 years reaching the point of no return. According to various studies, these projected effects can increase the temperature of the island by 1.8-4°C in the summer, decrease rainfall by 20%, and increase the frequency of extreme heat-waves. All three of these effects will increase water scarcity on the island and all these will echo a ripple effect across many industries in Cyprus that will be devastated.
The agricultural sector of Cyprus will be affected dramatically through the reduction of crop yield through the increase in temperatures and reduction of water resources. These effect will destroy a large part of the country's food supply forcing our country to import more.
Another effect will be more frequent pest outbreaks, and more frequent weather extremes such as heat-waves. All these effects will make the job of hundreds of people working in the agricultural sector harder making each year worst than the last.
The energy sector of Cyprus will be affected also extremely through changes and consequences of climate change in the supply and demand of electricity to consumers. Currently, in Cyprus, there is a difference in the energy peak demand between the winter and the summer around 20%. This means that the peak demand of electricity in the summer is 20% higher than the peak demand in the winter and since power producers are obliged to provide their consumers with uninterrupted power the whole year they have to build their power plants and be ready to produce electricity to cover the maximum demand for the whole year. This means there are power plants in Cyprus currently that operate only a few times in the summer which are usually days with heat-waves. With the effects of climate change and with increases in both temperatures and the frequency of those heat-waves the variability between summer peak and winter peak will increase together with the cost of electricity. These extra costs will need to be paid by the consumer. One more thing that happens to transmission lines and power plants during heat-waves is increased chances of power outages. Higher temperatures, humidity and increase dust particles in the air lead to increased faults on transmission lines and higher water temperatures near power plants lead to a decrease in power plant efficiencies which again both of these increase electricity cost.
Another huge sector that will be affected by climate change is Tourism. Due to extreme weather conditions and more frequent heat-waves in the summer, there will be a seasonal vacation shift from the summer to spring and autumn. This will bring a decline in current summer destinations such as Cyprus and shift these tourists to locations that are better for spring and autumn vacation. The projected decrease in tourism is estimated from 1-4% in the next 60 years across southern Europe.
The final effect of climate change will be on Land use change. Since Cyprus is an island large part of its land is coastal areas, these areas with the increase in sea level will be affected. More specifically projection for sea-level rise shows that by 2050 the ocean will rise by 0.5m, this means that a large part of the coastline that exists today will not exist in 30 years and according to projection, a part of Larnaca will be underwater. Apart from sea level rise land-use changes will affect the large biodiverse area we call Troodos. Water scarcity and heat stress will reduce available habitats for bird and plant species.
The solutions to climate change
Currently, climate change is not a one-solution problem. Many different sectors need to come together and innovate to solve this, however different companies and different innovators are working currently on solutions for climate change and Renewables Labs will provide deep explanations and analysis for these solutions. Leaders from different countries have shown confidence in their scientists to find their portfolio of solutions to reduce their emissions and contribute to the general solution that our world needs. Many of these leaders all signed together the Paris Agreement vowing to reduce the emissions and most importantly they have a created plans to go forward and fight climate change. Another great initiative that needs to be mentioned is the Green Deal. The Green Deal has entered the European Union into the new era allocating 1 Trillion Euro to fight climate change in the next 30 years finding the areas that all countries need to change to fight effectively climate change. This is an excellent initiative than needs to be embraced by all countries and since Cyprus is one of the countries affected the most in Europe we need to be one of the first countries to act.
By Sotiris Kyprianou
Sotiris is an energy analyst that dedicated his career to the energy sector with degrees in engineering and management in the sector with specialization in renewable energies, energy storage, and energy modeling.