Climate change and their impacts in the Balearic Islands

Understanding the local effects of global warming-derived impacts is important to island systems due to their fragile environmental conditions. This is especially true when it comes to Mediterranean insular regions as they are climate change (CC) hotspots where adaptation and mitigation policy design is an urgent matter. Looking at 2030 as a time horizon for climate action and focusing on the Balearic Islands, this paper reviews the physical changes projected for the coming decades as a result of CC and analyses their impacts on regional environmental, economic and social variables. Mitigation and adaptation measures are also proposed based on the identified priority impacts. The fact the Balearics are a top world holiday destination allows the analysis to serve as a guide to other Mediterranean islands with tourism-based economies facing similar CC scenarios. Results show the projected rise of temperature and sea level; the reduction of the average precipitation and increase in evapotranspiration, the droughts and the increase in ocean acidification and deoxygenation are the main threats faced by the Balearics, this putting their economy at risk due to the high tourism’s vulnerability to CC. Mitigation and adaptation action on terrestrial and marine ecosystems, water resources, energy, infrastructure and urban planning, human health, economy, law and education is recommended. Sustainable mobility and waste managing are also viewed as important fields for mitigation action. Conclusions show that diversifying the current socioeconomic model is needed to increase the community and territory resilience.

Torres, C., Jordà, G., de Vílchez, P., Vaquer-Sunyer, R., Rita, J., Canals, V., … & Miranda, M. Á. (2021). Climate change and its impacts in the Balearic Islands: a guide for policy design in Mediterranean regions. Regional Environmental Change21(4), 1-19. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10113-021-01810-1

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The European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed) is a think tank specialized in Euro-​Mediterranean relations. It is a center for discussion and debate which aims