STAFF REPORTER

ZARAGOZA
EXPO 2008, an exhibition and water resource conference centre in the northern Spanish city of Zaragoza reported yesterday that lower rainfall and increased temperatures in many parts of the Mediterranean basin will be the result of climate change across Spain, where the Balearics, the Canary Islands, and areas around the Guadalquivir in Andalucia will be some of the most affected sectors.

The grim forecasts emerged in “Climate change in Spain and its effect on water resources,” a book which was presented to the public yesterday in the Citizens' Initiative pavillion known as “The Lighthouse” at Zaragoza Expo 2008. The publication addresses the challenges which such incisive change will bring to people living in Spain. Regino Criado, professor of Applied Maths at the King Juan Carlos University explained that the work, contributed to by 26 specialists, is an attempt to show how tackling climate change is seen from several different perspectives - by scientists, by non-governmental organisations, and public administrations. According to the latest predictions, the region of Spain which will suffer most is the central southern area of the country. There will be a marked increase in periods of drought leading to vast tracts of land becoming desert, and most notably there will be a “Mediterraneanisation” of the North of Spain which currently has a distinct climate with far heavier levels of rainfall and plummeting winter temperatures.

Apart from numerous changes in the offing for land-based ecosystems, aquatic and marine life around the coastline and on the continental shelf will also be seriously affected with some flora and fauna disappearing altogether. Mountain areas of between 1'600 and 2'500 feet above sea level will undergo radical change and the sea level will rise. “Climate change is upon us,” confirmed Criado. “We're all going to have to work together to alleviate its affects as much as we can. He said that the sooner institutions and the public at large came to terms with it, the sooner a crusade could be launched against it. Euro-deputy Cristina Gutierrez-Cortines who was at Expo 2008 yesterday, said that governments at all levels would have to be guided in policy by what is sustainable at an environmental level.

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