Short description: The most recent scientific results on climate and environmental change in the Mediterranean based on the First Mediterranean Assessment Report (MAR1) published by the MedECC and on the 6th IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) Assessment Report (AR6) will be presented, as well as the results of the RICCAR (Regional Initiative for the Assessment of Climate Change Impacts on Water Resources and Socio-Economic Vulnerability in the Arab Region). The science-policy interface in the Mediterranean will be discussed.
Background: Created in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the objective of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is to provide governments at all levels with scientific information that they can use to develop climate policies. Until the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) the Mediterranean region was treated in separate chapters of IPCC reports corresponding to different continents. In order to assess the available scientific knowledge on climate and environmental change and the associated risks in the Mediterranean basin, the MedECC (Mediterranean Experts on Climate and environmental Change) network was founded in 2015. In November 2020, the MedECC published its First Mediterranean Assessment Report (MAR1). Since 2018, Plan Bleu (UNEP/MAP Regional Activity Center) has hosted the MedECC Scientific Secretariat as part of a partnership with the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM). In the 6th IPCC Assessment Report (AR6) published in February 2022, there is for the first time a cross-chapter paper on the on the Mediterranean Region. These reports are based on thousands of scientific papers published each year and the volunteer work of hundreds of authors to extract the best possible assessment of the drivers of climate and environmental changes, their present impacts and future risks, together with the best options for adaptation and mitigation to reduce those risks. The ultimate objective of the IPCC and the MedECC is to provide the information to the stakeholders at different level to support evidence-based decision-making. IPCC reports are a key input into international climate change negotiations taking place during the United Nations Climate Change Conferences (COPs). As for the MedECC, during the 22nd meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention COP22 (Antalya, Turkey), the Summary for Policymakers (SPM) of MAR1 was approved by the Contracting Parties. During the 2nd UfM Ministerial Meeting on Environment and Climate Action held in October 2021 in Cairo (Egypt), the 42 Ministers recognized in their declaration the SPM as an important contribution of the scientific community to future actions in matters of climate and environment in the Mediterranean region. Both MAR1 and the cross-chapter paper on the Mediterranean Region of IPCC AR6 confirmed that that virtually all parts of the Mediterranean Region are vulnerable and face significant risks due to climate change. Surface temperature in the Mediterranean region is now 1.5°C above pre-industrial level, with the increase in high-temperature extreme events. Droughts have become more frequent and intense, especially in the North Mediterranean. The sea surface has warmed by 0.29-0.44°C per decade since the early 1980s with stronger trends in the Eastern Basin. Sea level has risen by 1.4±0.2 mm yr-1 during the 20th century (2.8±0.1 mm yr-1 over 1993-2018). During the 21st century, climate change is projected to intensify throughout the region. Air and sea temperature and their extremes (notably heat waves) are likely to continue to increase more than the global average. Due to its particular combination of multiple strong climate hazards and high vulnerability, the Mediterranean region is a hotspot for highly interconnected climate risks for the ecosystems and the societies. Drawing upon climate science and regional climate modeling tools can inform priority setting, policy formulation and project preparation at the regional, national and local levels.