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Morocco’s Path to Resiliency from Climate Change by Barnard Blogger Hafsa Sabri

Morocco’s geography consists of the “Rif Mountains in the north, the Atlas Mountains in the center, plateaus in the east, plains and coast in the west, and desert in the south” and the country has a Mediterranean climate. In terms of water resources, it varies: the south suffers from water shortages year-round while coastal plains experience flooding. Climate change induced drought has had severe impacts on Morocco’s growth and livelihood, prompting Morocco to take steps in order to mitigate climate change. One season of little precipitation can and has depressed Morocco’s economy, and the country has previously went without rain for more than two months, receiving 42.7% less rain than on average. In 2016, drought reduced cereal yields by 70% in Morocco and water scarcity is also an issue due to more reliance on groundwater. Climate change will increase water resource depletion and decrease agricultural production due to increased drought, erratic precipitation, and rising temperatures. In addition, tourism contributes 12% to the country’s GDP which will be affected by climate change induced rising sea levels because of damage to “buildings, roads, natural heritage sites, beaches and resorts.” Morocco also relies on fisheries, a sector valued at $1 billion, and climate change will lead fish to migrate to cooler places. The drying of wetlands and oases, as well as migration of species will also affect Morocco’s ecosystem as a result of climate change.

Morocco has signed the Paris Agreement and has taken multiple steps to combat climate change which has had a profound influence on sectors like agriculture, fishing, and tourism. These steps include Plan Vert, or green strategy, a program launched by the country which attempts to reduce climate change impacts while creating opportunities for farmers such as learning sustainable techniques. The strategy also encourages farmers to plant tree crops instead of cereals, and plant seeds into the ground without tilling first. Morocco has taken a 360 approach with climate change by incorporating different methods in different sectors. Improved irrigation networks, which use drip irrigation, act to make water use more efficient and reliable and Morocco has also lifted diesel, gasoline and heavy fuel oil subsidies to encourage green economy investment as steps to cope with climate change.

Moving forward, Morocco’s goals include generating 52% of its electricity from renewable energy by 2030 and has used the COP22 conference as a platform to discuss its “Adaptation of African Agriculture” (AAA) initiative which is much like Plan Vert and aims to counter food insecurity. Morocco’s initiative helps other African countries work to combat climate change who may not have the proper footing. Morocco also has the largest wind farm in Africa and aims to have the world’s largest concentrated solar plant by 2018 which will power one million homes and it aims to generate 40% of its energy from renewables by 2020, down from their reliance on energy imports by 90% in 2013 according to CNN. In addition, Morocco has aimed to transition 15,000 mosques to renewables and has also banned the sale and use of plastic bags. Climate change has and will continue to have detrimental effects on Morocco’s economy and its people’s livelihoods, and in response the country has taken steps to mitigate and adapt to the future.

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2 Responses

  1. Africa consists of many developing countries and that it will be experiencing some of the worst consequences from climate change. It is interesting to read about a country leading the way towards sustainability and climate change mitigation in the continent. I wonder what kind of difficulties other countries in the continent might face in doing this because they are developing and they will be facing harsh consequences.

  2. It is amazing that Morocco is aiming to have 52% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. I wasn’t aware that Morocco was so invested in renewable energies. I loved how you included a variety of statistics in the first and second paragraphs; it was nice to have concrete data.

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