Lebanon can save billions of dollars if global ambition prevails

Experts have been warning from negative impacts of continuous greenhouse gas emissions causing climate change, especially on the long run, as these emissions threaten economic development in general. Experts have also been advocating for solutions to stop greenhouse gas emissions.

According to a study on the economic costs of climate change to Lebanon launched today by the Ministry of Environment and the United Nations Development Programme in a press conference, economic damage from climate change on Lebanon could reach more than 80 billion USD in 2040, if the world does not implement quick and serious measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Lebanese government will bear around 26 billion USD from this economic damage in 2040, according to the assumptions adopted in the study, whereas the Lebanese households will each bear around 60 thousand USD in the same year.

In the event that countries around the world, including Lebanon, implement their pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as submitted under the new Paris Agreement on climate change, Lebanon’s economy will save 50 billion USD in 2040 thanks to less severe impacts on the economy, society and environment.

The report estimated the economic impact of climate change in Lebanon for 8 sectors, including agriculture, energy, tourism, health and others, for the years 2020, 2040 and 2080. In addition, the report presented policy recommendations that Lebanon could adopt to better adapt to adverse economic and environmental impacts of climate change.

These results will be discussed in a series of events under the “One Week of Climate Reality” organized by the Ministry of Environment and the United Nations Development Programme. These events include an academic discussion in the Holy Spirit University – Kaslik on the adopted approach and the challenges encountered during the preparation of the study; a roundtable discussion with alumni from main universities in England (Alumni Central League) on how to spread climate change awareness in the different sectors of the economy to reduce negative economic impacts of climate change on society; and a panel discussion at the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs of the American University of Beirut on the repercussions of the newly adopted Paris Agreement on the results published in the report.

Mr. Luca Renda, UNDP country director highlighted during the press conference the importance of planning new projects for Lebanon based on the results of the study in the different sectors. He also emphasized that the UNDP will continue to support the Government of Lebanon in facing climate change for a better economic and social future.

As for the speech of Mr. Mohamad Al Mashnouk, Minister of Environment, it stated that regional insecurities may be aggravated by climate change, especially when it comes to distribution of natural resources. This may add to the severity of conflicts and migration, and will strain countries’ abilities to adapt to negative impacts of climate change. Which is why it is important to develop a climate response system that would make communities more resilient to adverse impacts of climate change, based on the scientific results presented in the report on economic costs of climate change to Lebanon.