CO2GO

Lebanon 2015 | ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT | FOCUS: LOW CARBON ECONOMY

Beirut is emerging as a regional center for climate change activities, pioneering unique projects in the region, and laying the path for Lebanon to meet its commitment of obtaining 12% renewable energy in its energy mix by 2020.

Before the war, Lebanon's electricity sector was in a state of disrepair. The damage to the infrastructure caused by the conflict amounted to $114 million. While the sector's true rehabilitation process requires long-term reform, significant steps towards its overhaul have been already taken. In 2009, the government of Lebanon committed to reach 12% renewable energy in its energy mix by 2020. Building a low-carbon economy and greater national resilience is now a priority not only for country's decision-makers, but the businesses community as well. Several initiatives have been launched recently that seek to promote integrated policymaking that links economic growth, environmental management, and social equity. Industry experts say that a series of projects in the pipeline mark the start of an important trend allowing Lebanon to break the pattern and go green. As Phoenix Energy's Rabih N. Osta told TBY, “The renewable energy sector is improving and growing; it is improving in terms of technology, and it is growing in terms of the market due to a lot of initiatives in Lebanon and in the region." Beirut is now emerging as a hub for regional climate change activities, pioneering unique projects in the region, putting the country on the right track to meet its mid-term environmental goals.

The Low Emission Capacity Building project

The Low Emission Capacity Building project is funded by the European Commission; German Federal Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety; and the Australian Government; and implemented through the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Launched in January 2013 with the aim of improving Lebanon's relevant infrastructure, institutional capacities, information sharing, and coordination processes, the project will develop the required capacities to achieve low emission status by providing guidance to Lebanon's decision-makers on the most suitable options to reduce carbon emissions, while simultaneously stimulating economic growth.

The National Action Program to Mainstream Climate Change into Lebanon's Development Agenda

The National Action Program to Mainstream Climate Change into Lebanon's Development Agenda, funded by Lebanon Recovery Fund, is a Lebanese government-led program established on the occasion of the Stockholm Conference. The agenda was founded to provide a directive for national adaptation activities, leading to a coordinated national low emission climate resilient development strategy. The program aims to engage the public institutions in continuous planning and decision-making on climate change issues, as well as strengthen the cooperation between various institutions, academia, and community organizations dealing with climate change.

The Third National Communication to the UNFCCC

The Third National Communication to the UNFCCC project was established with an aim of providing Lebanon with necessary tools to prepare and report the Third National Communication (TNC) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The project seeks to assess Lebanon in terms of progress, challenges, and respective opportunities related to reducing greenhouse gas levels, drive priority mitigation policies for the country, as well as provide vulnerability and adaptation analysis and policy recommendations

Beirut River Solar Snake (BRSS)

Recently completed, phase 1 of the Beirut River Solar Snake (BRSS) project is by far the largest photovoltaic (PV) project in Lebanon. BRSS is part of the national plan for energy self-sufficiency being pursued by the Lebanese Center for Energy Conservation (LCEC). The project's ultimate goal is to produce 10 MW from solar fields extending 6 km over the river in around five years, to meet the needs of 10,000 homes. The LCEC believes that with the involvement of the private sector the national target of around 200 MW of solar farms by 2020 can be met.