Countries across the globe committed to create a new international climate agreement at the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris in December 2015. For this purpose countries have agreed to outline the steps they are taking/will take to reduce emissions at national level under the new international agreement. These steps, which can be in the form of mitigation targets and/or mitigation actions are referred to as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). Countries may also include further information in their INDC, such as adaptation planning. The mitigation actions / targets put forward in countries’ INDCs will largely determine whether the world is put on a path toward a low-carbon, climate-resilient future.
Lebanese National Circumstances
In a situation of development challenges, including, amongst other issues, a lack of security due to regional turmoil, political instability as well as massive inequality and a high level of poverty, Lebanon’s INDC highlights adaptation to climate change as a priority. Being a vulnerable country with scarce water resources and high population density in the coastal areas, Lebanon is already facing and will continue to face several challenges such as sea-level rise and decrease in precipitation as a result of climate change.
Lebanon faces various challenges that increase the sensitivity of different sectors to climate change. The future temperature increase according to the climate models endanger the diverse natural environment of Lebanon. By 2040 the temperatures are expected to increase by around 1°C on the coast and 2°C in the mainland, and by 2090 they will be 3.5°C and 5°C higher, respectively. Due to the increasing temperatures, the local electricity infrastructure needs to cope with the increased demand for cooling. In addition, Lebanon’s arid / semi-arid climate makes it poor in water resources availability and vulnerable to the impacts of climate change; the estimated changes in the precipitation rates will put tremendous pressure on national water security and impact the agricultural sector, which uses around 70% of the available water for irrigation.
Considering the given challenges, Lebanon is taking major initiatives in line with the National Water Sector Strategy (2012) to ensure the availability of water for domestic, industrial and agricultural use. These initiatives include increasing surface water storage, increasing wastewater collection and treatment, and improving water distribution efficiency and decrease water loss in irrigation. Nevertheless, additional financial, technical, capacity building and technology transfer is needed to optimize the water sector.
Forestry and Agriculture
The objective of the adaptation measures is to ensure sustainably managed forests, ecological integrity, and social and economic development. Lebanon is undertaking several actions by implementing the National Forest Programme such as implementing forest fire strategies, applying pest management, planting trees, and rehabilitating irrigation canals, among others.
Promotion of climate change adaptation in other sectors in Lebanon is also done by seeking to mainstream climate change adaptation into electricity infrastructure, tourism, human settlements and infrastructure, and public health sectors.
Despite Lebanon’s low share of global emissions (0.07%), Lebanon plans to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30% and reduce its power-demand through energy-efficiency measures by 10%, conditional to the provision of international support. While unconditionally reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 15% and its power-demand by 3%, all by 2030 relative to a business-as-usual scenario.
The INDC covers the sectors of Energy, Industrial Processes and other products use, agriculture, forestry and land-use change, and waste.
Means of Implementation
These INDCs require strong coordination among different sectors in both planning and implementing mitigation and adaptation actions, the assessment and communication of national and international support needs, and the monitoring, reporting and verification of the INDCs implementation processes. The tasks would further require mainstreaming and promoting mitigation and adaptation actions, improving the cooperation among different ministries and facilitating the mobilization of support for implementing mitigation and adaptation actions.