“Green, blue and circular” v. “black” financial system for the Mediterranean?

“Heading towards a Greener Mediterranean” is the promotional slogan of the kick-off assembly for the launch of the INTERREG EURO-MED 2021-2027 program, to be held in Lisbon, on the twond of December 2021. https://interreg-med.eu/index.php?id=13352&L=0

“Green, blue and circular” are the primary pillars of the Economic Strategy of the EU for the present decade, taking part in a serious function within the implementation of the European Green Deal.

Blue Economy refers to marine-based or marine-related actions, both in established sectors, equivalent to marine living assets, marine non-living assets (fossil fuels) and so forth., or in rising and revolutionary sectors, equivalent to new kinds of marine renewable vitality (i.e. ocean vitality), blue bio-economy and biotechnology, marine minerals, desalination and so forth.

In its new approach, the European Commission abandons the “Blue Growth” goal, utilized through the earlier monetary interval (2014-2020), in favor of the “sustainable blue economy” idea. Economy and setting ought to be thought-about as a complete, whereas all financial actions within the sea ought to scale back their environmental impacts.

https://op.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/0b0c5bfd-c737-11eb-a925-01aa75ed71a1

The EURO-MED program will finance, with a funds of 281M € in complete (pending closing approval), actions related to the rising and revolutionary sectors. These actions maintain certainly a big potential for the longer term improvement of coastal and insular communities.

All different EU monetary devices for the brand new monetary interval in regards to the identical space, equivalent to ADRION (EUSAIR macro regional technique), Next-MED (European Neighborhood Policy) and INTERREG bilateral packages (Italy-France, Greece-Italy, Greece-Albania and so forth.), will most likely observe this identical orientation.

The Plan Bleu report (2020), describes with crystal clear phrases the alarming scenario on the State of the Environment and Development within the Mediterranean. The report states amongst different that susceptible assets are below stress, that the basin is a hotspot of local weather change, and that its coastal zone concentrates and accumulates pressures and suffers from environmental degradation. https://planbleu.org/en/soed-2020-state-of-environment-and-development-in-mediterranean/

When talking of a semi-closed sea, all coastal States ought to share widespread values and apply the identical insurance policies so as to achieve widespread aims. It appears this isn’t the case within the Mediterranean, the place financial pursuits and political rivalries, together with armed conflicts territorial disputes and financial weaknesses, restrict alternatives for cooperation and customary actions.

The important query is subsequently to look at if the longer term European excessive investments, specifically from the EURO-MED program, will probably be adequate to reverse and even affect the precise financial mannequin and realities within the Mediterranean basin.

Our evaluation will deal with Energy manufacturing, a vital however conflictual sector of blue financial system, the place the battle between standard and renewable vitality assets is predicted to be robust.

In its communication on Blue financial system, the European Commission said that offshore Oil and gasoline sector has been in decline for some years, due, in precept, to the Italian moratorium on offshore oil and gasoline permits.  But is that this assumption legitimate for the Mediterranean offshore oil and gasoline exploitation typically? What about nuclear vitality, which isn’t thought-about as a marine vitality useful resource however can have environmental impacts on used water and will deteriorate an increasing number of the ocean basin?

According to knowledge supplied by the U.S. Geological Survey, the Levant area of the Eastern Mediterranean — which incorporates Syrian coasts — holds a reserve of 1.7 billion barrels of oil and three.5 trillion cubic meters of pure gasoline.

While Egypt pioneered the invention of offshore gasoline with the Abu Qir area in 1969, it was the beginning of drilling in deep waters in 2000 that opened a brand new horizon within the Eastern Mediterranean. To date, greater than two thousand billion cubic meters (bcm) of pure gasoline have been found within the Egyptian sector of the Mediterranean Sea. And but, the Eastern Mediterranean stays under- or unexplored and has good prospects for extra reserves.

Turkey, Egypt, Greece, Lebanon, Syria, Libya and Israel within the Eastern Mediterranean are pursuing lively insurance policies on this energy-rich area whereas the U.S., Russia, the U.Ok., France and Italy search to take care of their affect within the area as effectively.

Actually, after two severe financial and well being crises, the danger of provide safety and the growing oil and gasoline costs, it could be reasonably uncertain for Governments to disclaim to take advantage of the not too long ago found “black gold”, favoring it over different “noble” and environmental-friendly assets. Country producers want the cash, massive petroleum firms the revenue and Northern European nations vitality safety, independence from Russian gasoline and steady costs.

The potential function of the Eastern Mediterranean in diversifying Europe’s vitality sources turns into, subsequently, vital. The East-Med pipeline undertaking would be the imply to switch Mediterranean gasoline to Europe via Israel, Cyprus and Greece.

In these circumstances, it isn’t in any respect stunning that Turkish President Erdogan claims at any time the “Blue homeland”, as the primary aspect of the Turkish international coverage.

Numerous consultants sound the alarm that the deliberate extraction of hydrocarbon deposits within the Eastern Mediterranean current a dramatic danger of irreversible ecological and socio-economic catastrophe on the sea, the productive land areas the place mining is deliberate, but additionally the viability of the nations themselves. Other consultants think about that hydrocarbons, and particularly gasoline, are a part of the answer in the direction of the vitality transition and demand on the truth that efforts for analysis and discovery of latest deposits in addition to their exploitation have to be intensified.

International expertise has proven that in an space the place hydrocarbons are mined, accidents and normal degradation are inevitable, regardless of strict environmental circumstances and prevention measures. It is then apparent that mining actions can not coexist with the so-called blue and inexperienced actions.

Two current typical examples illustrate the detrimental results of onshore and offshore mining: Basilicata (Italy) and the Gulf of Mexico.

After almost thirty years of mining, Basilicata is now going through a dramatic environmental disaster, rising most cancers charges, a devastated agriculture and degraded tourism. As a outcome, the Italian Government has determined to droop any new software for manufacturing concession by the tip of 2021.

In the Gulf of Mexico, the explosion at BP’s oil rig in 2010 spilled 5 million barrels of crude oil into the ocean. It took three months to shut the mining effectively at a depth of 1,500 meters and cease the leak. The oil lined 180,000 km2 of sea and coast, from Texas to Alabama, whereas greater than 5,500 tons of poisonous chemical dispersants have been used.

Apart the doubts and worries for the exploitation of oil and gasoline, a sequence of considerations are expressed for the operate or the development of latest nuclear energy crops in numerous nations across the Mediterranean. There are at present nuclear energy crops in Bulgaria, Romania, France, Spain and Slovenia, whereas such models are being deliberate in Turkey, Albania and Northern Macedonia.

Turkey envisages to assemble 4 nuclear reactors with a capability of 1.200MW, the primary in Akuyu, to be constructed by Rosatom, a Russian State-owned Atomic Energy Company.

Rosatom has additionally obtained a allow from the Egyptian Government to assemble a plant within the Dabaa space of ​​MarsaMatrouh, financed by Russia with a mortgage of 25 billion US greenback.

France owns fifty-eight nuclear reactors and about 80% of its vitality manufacturing is predicated on nuclear vitality. This share is the best on the planet. France has one of many lowest electrical energy costs within the European Union and the bottom carbon dioxide emissions within the EU.

Nuclear vitality is subsequently coming again once more as a way of transition to an financial system with zero carbon footprint, and regardless of unhealthy experiences and accidents, many nations, as for instance the UK and Japan, are additionally adopting this resolution.

Ten Member States, (the Netherlands, Romania, the Czech Republic, Finland, Slovakia, Croatia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Poland and Hungary) led by France think about that pure gasoline and nuclear vitality can be utilized within the battle in opposition to local weather change and requested to be acknowledged as such, within the so-called “taxonomy”.  On the opposite aspect, Germany – which is locking its nuclear crops -, Austria, Luxembourg and different nations are strongly resisting to that coverage. Some different nations think about that gasoline ought to be solely a brief resolution, a bridge in the direction of the transition to inexperienced vitality, as it’s much less polluting than oil and though it nonetheless is a fossil gasoline.

According to present forecasts, in lower than a decade the planet can have decisively shifted from fossil fuels to RES and delicate useful resource administration, with the primary drastic anticipated change is the know-how of automobiles that at present eat greater than half the world’s gasoline. In truth, a consequent discount within the value of oil is predicted.

It stays to see if this forecast will probably be legitimate for the Mediterranean basin as effectively, provided that vitality will probably be produced in parallel by standard sources (fossil gasoline and nuclear) and by rising vitality renewables.

At the tip of the last decade, we are going to know if the European cash was used to avoid wasting the ocean or was misplaced within the sea.

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