ENVIRONMENT: Cyprus-based project to monitor regional climate change

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A new Cyprus research project to monitor greenhouse gas emissions in the east Mediterranean and the Middle East was launched as part of efforts to tackle climate change across the region, with European Union funding.

The €30 mln  project, which is to be equally funded by the EU (Horizon 2020) and Cyprus will boast one of Europe’s largest environmental observation posts.

The Cyprus Institute, a non-profit research and academic centre in Nicosia is to head the project.

The Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East Climate and Atmosphere Research Centre (EMME-CARE), as the project is dubbed, will eventually involve a state-of-the-art scientific complex to monitor the Middle East, bringing together top scientists from France, Germany, the Netherlands and three other countries to monitor greenhouse gas emissions in the vulnerable region of the Eastern Mediterranean.

Scientists will contribute towards overturning a climate disaster in the Mediterranean which could physically alter the region.

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

Cyprus was picked to house the centre as the EU member state is located farthest east, closer to Lebanon and Syria than any fellow EU country.

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

“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 change on the 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 at any time in the past million years.

Professor Costas N. Papanicolas, President of The Cyprus Institute said that EMME-CARE will provide scientific, technological and policy solutions through the establishment of a world-class Research and Innovation Centre of Excellence, focusing on environmental challenges.

“To address these, the existing Atmosphere and Climate Division of the Cyprus Institute will be upgraded, its partnerships with world-renowned Institutes will be strengthened, and its status and contributions to regional/global networks in the field will be enhanced.”