Tehran hosting international, regional conference on climate change

November 18, 2019

TEHRAN – The sixth international, regional conference on climate change opened in Tehran on Monday with the participation of representatives from World Meteorological Organization and several countries.

Training courses and workshops on relevant issues will be held on the sidelines of the 2-day event, Mehr news agency reported.

Drought highly threatens food security

Sahar Taj Bakhsh, head of Iran’s Meteorological Organization (IMO), said that drought threatens food security in countries around the world.

Today, climate change is one of the important issues in our country that needs serious attention; climate change has increased the incidence of extreme events, she said.

However, air transportation is one of the issues that play a very significant role in the generation of greenhouse gas and carbon dioxide emissions, she lamented.

She went on to say that climate change and the occurrence of extreme weather events are among the most dangerous economic issues in the world, as 4.5 billion people in the world are affected by natural hazards, 96 percent of whom are affected by atmospheric hazards.

Casualties of weather events have been on the rise since 1980 to 2018; which is basically the result of global warming that caused December, January, and February to be the hottest months ever, causing a change in precipitation throughout the world, she explained.

Parts of the Middle East and North Africa are affected by droughts severely, which has a significant impact on Gross Domestic Product (GDP), she regretted, adding, if rising temperature continues, it will lead to food insecurity in countries that are among the most affected by drought.

Warnings of a three-degree rise in global temperatures mean that most of the countries will suffer from food insecurity, Taj Bakhsh lamented.

If we experience a two degrees raise in temperature, tropical storms will increase around the world, she noted, adding, sea level rises as well and causes disasters in coastal countries.

Since 1970 to 2018, carbon dioxide emissions have increased sharply, and climate risks will continue to increase, also heat waves have also increased sharply over the past 18 years, with transport sector contribution of 14 percent, she also explained.

In recent years, 30,000 kilometers of new air routes have been set up in Iran, and the length of our air routes has increased from 60,000 kilometers to 94,000 kilometers, resulting in shorter routes, which reduces fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, she stated.

By transforming the country’s space into an airway within the framework of economic, environmental and sustainable development can take steps towards green transportation, Taj Bakhsh concluded.

Natural resources not managed properly

Mohammad Eslami, Minister of Transport and Urban Development, for his part said: “We did not treat our natural resources properly so that environmental hazards increased.”

“During the past centuries, people have always chose a region for living based on the climate characteristic of the area, which reflects the wisdom and maturity of the people, however, in recent decades, we have gone further to copy foreign urban development patterns which ended up in increased environmental problems,” he explained.

“We must definitely move towards sustainable development and avoid indefinite development that results in climate change intensification.”

“One of our priorities was the creation of new air routes to reduce fuel consumption, as well as changing energy consumption patterns in households.

“We have also put in place the use of low sulfur fuel in the fleet so that we can comply with the required percentages. 

And we have increased the railways from 4,700 km to 14,400 km, also it is scheduled to build some 15,000 railways throughout the country, to get the most out of the minimum energy efficiency and direct our transportation to green standards,” Eslami highlighted.

Another aspect is urban planning which requires particular attention to maximize the resilience capacity of the cities and settlements while focusing on environmental issues and smart urbanization, he said.

“We can minimize traffic jam, relocate industrial units and businesses, minimize inner-city travel, and expand parks and green spaces,” he concluded.

Climate change needs strict laws and regulations

Asadollah Abbasi, a member of the Majlis (Iranian Parliament), for his part, said: “Like many countries that have a single climate change law, we can combine scattered laws to have an effective law.”

Since industrialization began in the world, industrial pollutants have increased greenhouse gas emissions, he stated.

He went on to say that glaciers are melting, which affected the Caspian Sea and rivers across the country; floods and droughts are caused by human-caused climate change, which is threatening the lives of millions of people.

“When it comes to sustainable development, it will be backed by all the principles we need to consider, including public education, participation, and research, he highlighted, emphasizing, we cannot wait to see what happens, we must take action to adapt to climate change.”

Today, the country is facing a lack of water resources that resulted in excessive withdrawal of groundwater, which have dire consequences in addition to rising migration to urban areas, he lamented.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Abbasi said that once agricultural development around Lake Urmia was suggested and began that affected the whole climate of the region, and posed threats to people’s lives, so plans without environmental assessment should not be implemented.

“We are deeply concerned about the issue of the Caspian Sea water transfer,” he regretted, adding, Hyrcanian Forests also play an important role in the climate change of the region and must be protected.

The sixth development plan insisted on saving water and preventing over-harvesting, but no measures have been done due to lack of coordination of related bodies, he added.

It seems that legislating a single climate change law that urges all the related organizations and people to employ it, can come highly efficient, he concluded.

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