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12 Mar 2023

AP (Published on The Hill)

Iraq: Prime Minister announces national plan to build renewable energy facilities and combat effects of climate change

"Iraqi PM promises action to tackle crippling climate change", 12 March 2023

Iraq’s prime minister Sunday promised sweeping measures to tackle climate change — which has affected millions across the country — including plans to meet a third of the country’s electricity demands using renewable energy.

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

“More than seven million citizens have been affected in Iraq … and hundreds of thousands have been displaced because they lost their livelihoods that rely on agriculture and hunting,” Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani said in a speech to open the two-day Iraq Climate Conference in Basra.

Al-Sudani said the Iraqi government is working on a national plan to tackle climate change that consists of a series of measures it hopes to take by 2030. The plan includes building renewable energy plants, modernizing inefficient and outdated irrigation techniques, reducing carbon emissions, combating desertification, and protecting the country’s biodiversity.

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

Climate change and its impact on Iraq’s water resources and agriculture also comes at an economic cost, destroying people’s livelihoods and making it more likely for Iraq to hike up its imports for basic staples that were once heavily produced in the country, such as wheat...