By Mohammad Ghazal

AMMAN – As climate change is projected to increase temperatures in Jordan during the 21st century, the Kingdom is expected to witness increased incidence of fires and a “significant” rise in drought conditions, according to a report released on Monday.

Issued by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN), the report titled, “Climate Change Effects on Jordan’s Vegetation Cover, Fire Risk and Runoff Changes”, predicts that temperatures will increase from 0.5 to 3°C in winter and 1 to 4.5°C in summer by the end of the century.

It also indicated that there will be little or no change in annual precipitation in the Kingdom during this century.

“We should be ready to deal with these challenges imposed by climate change, which is a reality. If we have plans in place, we will be able to curb and avoid negative impacts of climate change on Jordan,” RSCN Director General Yehya Khalid said during yesterday’s launch.

Current assessments suggest that savannas and desert regions are the least vulnerable of all terrestrial ecosystems to projected climate changes during the 21st century, according to the report, which indicated that the major problem for biodiversity and conservation in Jordan will be increased drought.

It added that there will be a decrease in woody vegetation in the east and south of Jordan and an expected decline in herbaceous vegetation in the northwestern regions of the country, which has implications for grazing.

“People in some parts of Jordan live from breeding animals and their livelihoods will be affected; therefore, it is important to start looking for solutions,” Khalid said.

During the launch, World Bank representative Tracy Hart highlighted the importance of the report and stressed the need for it to be followed by concrete measures to address the situation, adding that all stakeholders in different sectors should be involved in the issue.

Ministry of Environment Secretary General Fares Jneidi, who also attended the event, said Arab states are the most affected by climate change, especially in light of limited water resources.

Stressing that Jordan has taken several measures to address climate change, he called on developed countries to support developing states address the issue.