finance & economy

Climate change: tourism could incur losses of 3.6 billion dinars (study)

November 29, 2021

(TAP) - A 50 cm sea-level rise could result in economic losses amounting to 3.6 billion dinars for tourism: this is the main finding of a study entitled 'Economic Impacts of Climate Change in Tunisia: Risks and Opportunities.'

The study is commissioned by the Ministry of Environment and supported by the UK embassy in Tunis.

The sector, which accounts for 14.2% of the GDP, risks losing nearly 1,000 jobs per year, it emerges from the study which was presented on Thursday evening at the British ambassador's residence.

'Tunisia is still highly exposed to climate change. Its climate will be hotter and drier with changes in main seasonal precipitation. The country will also become exposed to sea-level rise and increase in salinity and acidification,' the study further reads.

'The agricultural sector could make lossess of to 5% to 10% of the sectoral GDP by 2030 due to climate change. These losses are the result of the combined impacts of the deterioration of water resources and ground water, lower incomes, less areas for arable and grain crops and higher fire risk,' the study showed.

'Estimates of job losses in the agricultural sector vary between 8,250 and 16,500 jobs, reaching 37,000 jobs in the event of a major drought.'

Olive oil export: losses estimated at US$228 million by 2100//

Olive and olive oil production will be affected by water availability and the increasing number of hot days. This is one of the main climate change impacts that could lead to annual export losses amounting to US$228 million by 2100.

'Grain production will likewise be severely affected with the contribution to the agricultural GDP dropping from 30% to 50% by 2100. Job losses are estimated at 30% by 2050. This will jeopardise food self-sufficiency and increase import dependency, ' the study reads.

The fishing sector, which employs about 100,000 in Tunisia, 'risks losing 15,000 ha in Kerkennah and 50% of the area devoted to extraction of clams.

Minister of Environment Leila Chikhaoui Mehdaoui said fallouts from climate change on the food safety and water resources, environment and economic, social and public health activities prove that climate challenges are undoubtedly a real threat for the planet as well as for the country's development.'

This study further confirms the need to include climate change in all areas of activity in line with the guidelines and commitments set as part of the national plan which, the minister said, targets a 45% drop in carbon dioxide intensity (CO2) by 2030 and seeks to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.

Acting British Ambassador Matthew Forman said the study provides data that clearly show a transition to low-carbon energy will not only be beneficial for the environment but also would have a positive impact on Tunisians' quality of life and their livelihoods .

forman said, in this vein, his country will support Tunisia with a view to mitigating the impact of climate change and cutting carbon emissions.

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