Cyprus-based project to monitor Mideast emissions

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — A new Cyprus-based project aims to fill a research gap on greenhouse gas emissions in the east Mediterranean and Middle East to help policymakers tackle climate change in the vulnerable region, officials said Tuesday.

Plans for the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East Climate and Atmosphere Research Center call for building in Cyprus to monitor the Middle East, coordinator Jean Sciare said at the project’s launch.

Experts predict the Middle East, a global climate change “hot spot,” will in three years produce more greenhouse gases than the 28-nation European Union.

The Research Center will be one of Europe’s largest environmental observation posts. It will bring together more than a dozen scientists from France, Germany, the Netherlands and three other countries to monitor greenhouse gas emissions with satellites and other technology.

Another goal is raising public awareness about climate change in the Middle East, where opinion polls show the issue isn’t high on the public’s list of concerns.

Cyprus was picked to house the center as the European Union member located farthest east. The Mediterranean island nation is closer to Lebanon and Syria than most fellow EU countries.

The project’s launch coincided with the Cypriot government announcing its own climate change initiative to develop a regional action plan, Environment Minister Costas Kadis said.

“We want to bring the scientific community together with policy makers to give them a tool kit to work in ameliorating the impact of climate range on region,” Kadis said.

Michel Jarraud, the former head of the World Meteorological Organization, told The Associated Press that greenhouse gases are now reaching a much higher concentration than in the past 1 million years.

Jarraud warned that temperatures rising by 2 degrees Celsius could impact regional water resources and cause flooding in the vulnerable Nile Delta.

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