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CyI at forefront of energy and climate policy research in EMME

The Eastern Mediterranean & Middle East (EMME) region has been recognised as a global climate change hotspot with particularly high vulnerability to climate change impacts, the Cyprus Institute (CyI) said.

CyI has been instrumental in leading the scientific part of the Republic of Cyprus' EMME Climate Change Initiative, coordinating thirteen Scientific Task Forces that engaged over 240 scientists and experts in identifying gaps in knowledge and policy, for a concerted regional response to the climate crisis. It has also coordinated the preparation of a Regional Climate Action Plan for this purpose.

Building on this initiative, CyI researchers have worked on energy and climate policy analyses for the region, with the goal to contribute to the assessment of decarbonisation challenges of EMME countries and provide insights for policymakers. This work has recently led to two scientific publications in internationally acclaimed journals:

In collaboration with Steven Griffiths of Khalifa University of Science and Technology in the United Arab Emirates, CyI researchers addressed the question how to share the effort of greenhouse gas emission reductions between EMME countries if the entire region is to be aligned with the Paris Agreement. Fairness of global decarbonisation effort is foundational to climate change mitigation discussions. The authors explored fourteen approaches, based on the three main equity principles defined by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, to determine equitable national emission allocations in the year 2030 for the seventeen EMME countries, on the road to achieving net zero carbon emissions in 2050 (for the 1.5-degree Celsius climate stabilization target) or 2070 (for the 2-degree target). The significant heterogeneity among EMME countries makes it particularly challenging to allocate such targets in a way that is both fair and politically acceptable.

Moreover, CyI researchers have developed the first fully open-source energy systems model for the EMME region, relying solely on publicly available data. This model is made freely available for researchers in the region or beyond who may wish to conduct more detailed analysis at regional or national level. Scenarios implemented with this model highlight that increased electricity interconnections between EMME countries can offer great benefits by unlocking the largely unexploited renewable energy potential of the region. Electricity trade can contribute very substantially to the cost-optimal achievement of greenhouse gas emission abatement targets, and can even lead the entire EMME region to net zero carbon emissions by the mid-21st century.

These two studies underline the huge environmental and socio-economic benefits that can result from cooperation among EMME countries. The Cyprus Institute continues partnering with knowledge institutions in EMME to improve prosperity in the region based on science, technology, and innovation.

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