Global interest in the phenomenon of climate change has emerged for several years as it has had economic, social and environmental impacts on the entire world.
There are many measures taken by countries to confront their repercussions, especially on environmental systems and economic sectors, as many international agreements have been concluded, most notably the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change, and the Paris Agreement, which is the first global agreement on climate that aims to contain global warming at 1.5 degrees. In addition to holding regional and international conferences, the latest of which is the Glasgow Climate Conference, which was held in the United Kingdom in November 2021.
The world’s attention is turned to the COP 27 climate conference hosted by Egypt from 6 to 18 November 2022, which is part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
In this conference, developing countries are counting on obtaining assistance that will enable them to bear the burden of adapting to climate changes, especially as they are the most vulnerable to the risks of climate change, despite being the least contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.
In this context, the research paper aims to identify the phenomenon of climate change, its effects on the Egyptian economy, the efforts made by the Egyptian state to limit the effects of climate change, and the policies that should be taken to confront this phenomenon.
The paper presented a set of policies as follows:
-Providing green financing opportunities for micro, small and medium enterprises.
-Seeking to provide technical and financial support, especially for small and micro projects, in order to raise the efficiency of the affected groups in developing projects eligible for financing.
-Benefiting from some international experiences in innovative financing mechanisms for small projects, where soft loan terms are offered in exchange for a specific training program that reduces the risks of the financing entity.
-Raising the awareness and competence of cadres working in the sectors concerned with addressing the risks of climate change.
The following topics present the findings of the study:
First: the reality of climate change
In light of various scientific reports, regarding the magnitude of climate change impacts and their expected scenarios, the Paris Agreement was adopted to enhance global action to address climate change under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The agreement entered into force on November 4, 2016, and was ratified by the Egyptian parliament in 2017.
Egypt is committed to providing its fair share of climate action as part of global action to address climate change. Given Egypt’s high vulnerability to climate change, adapting to the negative effects of climate change is an imperative.
From this point, Egypt prepared its first national strategy for adaptation to climate change and disaster risk reduction in 2011, as well as a low-emissions development strategy LEDS in 2018, which was prepared to align with the sustainable development strategy of Egypt’s Vision 2030. Despite this, there is still a gap to unify all aspects of climate change in one strategy to be a basic reference that ensures the integration of the climate change dimension into the overall planning of all sectors in the country.
Hence, the National Council for Climate Change (NCCC) requested the elaboration of Egypt’s first comprehensive National Climate Change Strategy (NCCS) until 2050, which could be seen as a road map for achieving climate change challenges under Egypt’s updated Vision 2030
The National Climate Change Strategy will enable Egypt to plan and manage climate change at different levels in a way that supports the achievement of the country’s desired economic development goals, following a flexible and low-emissions approach.
The National Climate Change Strategy sets the welfare of the Egyptian citizen as a priority, which is in line with the first strategic goal of SDS 2030 as the strategy’s vision is to effectively address the effects and repercussions of climate change in a way that contributes to improving the quality of life for the Egyptian citizen, achieving sustainable development, sustainable economic growth, and maintaining Natural resources and ecosystems, while strengthening Egypt’s leadership at the international level in the field of climate change.
Second: The impact of climate change on the economic sectors in Egypt
The forecast covers a wide variety of scenarios ranging from very rapid economic growth to modest growth, and between greater or less dependence on fossil fuels. The best estimates of increased Earth temperatures range from 1.8 to 4.0 ° C for different emission scenarios, and temperatures rise as emissions increase.
The Nile River is the main source of water in Egypt, as the annual flow allocated to the country is 55.5 billion cubic meters annually. The remaining fresh water resources provide an additional 2 billion cubic meters annually and include groundwater, agricultural drainage water reuse, treated wastewater, rain and floods, and desalination of sea water. There has been a sharp decline in the per capita share of renewable fresh water, which pushed Egypt to approach the severe water scarcity limit of 500 cubic meters per capita per year (and it is expected that the effects of climate change, pollution of river water, and other external factors (such as the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam) to Exacerbating the water scarcity crisis in Egypt .The Egyptian government is seriously considering increasing investments in rationalizing and reusing water and generating new resources as a national priority.
Climate change is expected to have a significant impact on coastal areas, particularly the Nile Delta, due to the impact of sea level rise on lowlands, the frequency of severe storms and extreme weather events, which negatively affect ecosystems, human health, the costs of operating the water and sanitation infrastructure and its effectiveness, and the economic activities of the country in general.
The Egyptian government is also committed to increasing energy efficiency and encouraging the transition to clean and renewable energy within the framework of Egypt’s strategy for integrated sustainable energy until 2035. The goal is to increase the share of renewable energy in the electricity mix to 37% and encourage private sector investment through net metering, feed-in tariffs and other systems, It also seeks to encourage citizens to switch to natural gas.
Table No. (1) Number of cars converted to run on natural gas until 2021
Source: Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics, Egypt in Figures, 2022.
The number of vehicles converted into natural gas in Egypt in 2021 was about 51 thousand.
Egypt mainly depends on natural gas and petroleum products to meet 98% of its total primary energy consumption and is among the largest consumers of natural gas, especially energy-intensive industries such as cement and fertilizers. Until recently, Egypt was self-sufficient in its energy consumption and met its energy needs through local production. However, this situation has been reversed due to the increasing demand for energy encouraged by the intensive energy subsidies, which has led to increased pressure on available fuel supplies and a sharp increase in budget deficit.
Table No. (2): The evolution of the amount of electrical energy generated from renewable energy until the year 2020
Source: Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics, Egypt, in figures, 2022
Energy is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, resulting from the burning of natural gas and petroleum products to produce energy. Power plants in Egypt depend mainly on natural gas, achieving self-sufficiency after recent discoveries, however, the contribution of new and renewable sources of energy to electricity production was 4.4% in 2019/2020, more than 2,000 MW comparing to 2015/2016 through a mix of wind and solar generating plants (These are photovoltaic cells and concentrated solar cells), other than the contribution of water sources, mainly the High Dam, which represents another 7.6% of the electricity mixture..
In the context of reducing emissions from the energy sector, focus should also be placed on the possibility of using low-carbon fuel alternatives, especially in areas where fuel cannot be dispensed with as part of the operation process, and the effectiveness of this goal increases due to the availability of alternatives that achieve lower emissions of greenhouse gases such as Natural gas, which Egypt achieved a surplus from its production in the past years. Indeed, the use of natural gas in power stations amounted to 94.1% during 2019/2020, while reducing the consumption of diesel and diesel compared to the previous year.
Figure No. 1: The quantity of carbon dioxide emissions at the sector level in Egypt 2019 / 2020
Source: Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics, Egypt 2022
The electricity sector was the largest sector in the quantity of carbon dioxide emissions in 2020, as it causes 76% of the total quantity of emissions, followed by the transportation sector, which represents 35%, then the industrial sector, 26%, household consumption 16%, the petroleum sector 13%, followed by the industrial sector Tourism is 11%, the road sector is 2.8%, and finally the agricultural sector is 2.3%.
The agricultural sector is one of the most sensitive sectors to climate changes, as it directly or indirectly affects the efficiency of the sector, threatening the achievement of food security and thus economic growth. Given the sensitivity of the agricultural sector and its direct impact on the economy, the expected contribution seeks to increase productivity while maintaining emissions levels more than reducing them. In contrast, the waste sector has the ingredients to significantly reduce emissions, as the government is working to develop the waste management system.
Third: Opportunities and challenges resulting from the repercussions of climate change in Egypt
- Congruence many of the country’s strategic plans with regard to mitigating climate change.
- Gradually lifting subsidies on electricity and fuel, which leads to rationalization of consumption.
- Egypt’s leading role in international negotiations on climate change and its hosting of the Climate Change Conference Cop 27 in November 2022.
- Egypt enjoys strong sunlight and winds in many regions, and therefore the production of renewable energy can be greatly expanded.
The challenges are:
-Threat to Egypt’s water resources as a result of crises related to its share of the Nile River with downstream countries, reduced groundwater availability, increased groundwater salinity, and increased water stress.
-Poverty and water stress.
-Unplanned population areas and urban sprawl on rural areas.
-Population increase at large rates, which increases pressure on traditional energy sources and decreases the resources and possibilities available to preserve the environment.
Fourth: Countries‘ efforts to reduce the impacts of climate change
The Egyptian government has taken substantial steps to reform the energy sector in recent years. Energy subsidies, along with the economic stagnation, have contributed to an increase in the national budget deficit, which has reached 12% of GDP.
In addition to increasing the production of oil and gas, the Egyptian government is also looking to diversify its energy mix. In accordance with the Integrated Sustainable Energy Strategy 2035, the Egyptian government supports – while taking into account cost-effectiveness and energy security – energy diversification through renewable energy sources, energy efficiency, nuclear power and clean coal technology. The goal of the fuel mix is to generate electricity and the Egyptian government is reforming this sector to attract private investment through net metering and feed-in tariff systems for renewable energy.
The Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy has taken several measures aimed at increasing the contribution of new and renewable energy, which is planned to reach 42% of the total electrical energy produced in 2035.
The following points reflect these efforts:
-Deployment of centralized systems of renewable energy on a large scale, such as wind farms, concentrated solar energy, solar photovoltaic plants, as well as bioenergy plants.
-Promoting decentralized small-scale systems including waste, bioenergy, rooftop photovoltaic solar cells and solar water heaters.
-Developing new technologies to accommodate the use of renewable energy sources such as intelligent control systems.
-Inclusion of new alternative energy sources such as green hydrogen, blue hydrogen and nuclear energy.
-Increasing the use of renewable energy to generate electricity within industrial facilities and the applications of solar thermal energy in industrial processes.
-Phasing out coal and switching to low carbon fuels.
-Converting cars to run on compressed natural gas instead of gasoline.
-Raising the efficiency of road infrastructure, which would reduce traffic congestion periods.
-Expansion of electricity-based mass transportation networks, such as metro networks, electric trains and buses.
-Encouraging the conversion of ships to run on natural gas and liquefied natural gas.
-Developing a network of freight trains and increasing their capacity to be an alternative to transportation vehicles.
-Delivering of natural gas to homes as an alternative to the use of gas cylinders.
– Encouraging the transition to a green economy.
-Safe and sound disposal of solid waste in suitable landfills and collection of gases resulting from those landfills.
Fifth: Suggested enabling policies and tools to reduce the effects of climate change
These enabling policies and tools to reduce the impact of climate change on Egypt are:
–Establishing early warning systems for all sectors by developing a unified database and activating the role of climate change information centers affiliated with different ministries.
-Establishing regular monitoring systems.
-Raising the awareness and efficiency of cadres working in the sectors involved in addressing the risks of climate change.
-Emphasizing the importance of community participation from all groups and equality among all during the development of crisis management plans.
-Strengthening and developing channels and funds for social protection, compensation and insurance against natural disasters.
-The Ministry of Health and Population studies the expected health impacts as a result of climate change, then develops and adopts a plan to address these impacts effectively.
-The Ministry of Planning giving priority to projects to raise the efficiency of infrastructure, especially dilapidated ones, and to increase the coverage of services such as sewage treatment plants for the neediest areas.
-Developing programs and policies to support the development of rural communities to enhance their resilience to the effects of climate change, especially land use change, plant and animal production, and the impact of migration to urban areas.
Developing a mechanism to coordinate with civil society to implement pilot projects, and coordinate between NGOs to benefit from experiences and applied models for dissemination in society.
-Exploiting the use of artificial intelligence to provide solutions to challenges facing farmers such as climate change, pest outbreaks and the spread of weeds that reduce yields.
-Developing policies to ensure the effective participation of women in setting financing criteria and allocating resources for climate change initiatives.
-Work to establish risk management units at the level of some villages and remote areas in the governorates.
Finally, the Egyptian government should adopt many general directions in order to enhance the leading role of Egypt in the field of climate action at the regional and international levels in light of the Paris Agreement and the sustainable development goals.
These general directions can be summarized as follows:
•First: Ensure integrated planning between various national and sectoral strategies (such as the sustainable development strategy – Egypt Vision 2030, the green economy strategy, the national strategy for disaster risk reduction, the low-emissions development strategy, and sectoral strategies such as the sustainable agricultural strategy, etc.)
- -Second: Integrating actions related to climate change into national planning.
- -Third: integrating sustainability and green recovery criteria into national planning and budget preparation.
- Fourth: Integrating climate adaptation and resilience into infrastructure projects