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Iraqi PM promises action to tackle crippling climate change


Iraq’s prime minister has promised sweeping measures to tackle climate change, which has affected millions of people across the country

BAGHDAD — Iraq’s prime minister on Sunday promised sweeping measures to tackle climate change – which has affected millions of people across the country – including plans to meet a third of the country’s electricity demand using renewable energies. renewable.

Climate change for years has compounded the woes of this struggling country. Droughts and increased water salinity have destroyed crops, animals and farms and dried up entire bodies of water. Hospitals have had to deal with waves of patients with respiratory illnesses caused by rampant sandstorms. Climate change has also played a role in Iraq’s ongoing fight against cholera.

“More than seven million citizens have been affected in Iraq (…) and hundreds of thousands have been displaced because they have lost their livelihoods which depend on agriculture and hunting,” the official said. Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani in an opening speech at the two-day Iraq climate conference in Basra.

Al-Sudani said that the Iraqi government is working on a national plan to combat climate change which consists of a series of measures it hopes to take by 2030. The plan includes the construction of renewable energy plants, the modernization of inefficient and obsolete irrigation techniques, the reduction of carbon emissions, the fight against desertification and the protection of the country’s biodiversity.

Among the plans is a massive afforestation initiative, where Iraq would plant 5 million trees across the country. Iraq also hopes to supply a third of the country’s electricity demand through renewable energy instead of fossil fuels.

Al-Sudani said he also hopes to hold a regional conference on climate change in Baghdad in the near future.

Developments in neighboring countries have also aggravated Iraq’s water problems.

Iraq depends on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers for almost all of its water needs. They arrive in the country from Turkey and Iran. Because these countries have built dams that have blocked or diverted water, shortages have worsened in Iraq.

Climate change and its impact on Iraq’s water resources and agriculture also has an economic cost, destroying people’s livelihoods and making it more likely for Iraq to increase its imports of products. staples that were once heavily produced in the country, such as wheat. The government used to subsidize seeds, fertilizers and pesticides to soften the blow of rising costs on wheat farmers and keep production levels high, but cut them two years ago.

ABC News

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