The occurrence of climate change has been irrefutably established by leading international scientists, and so has become the crux issue of environmental concern. The Copenhagen congress concluded that the worst-case scenarios, as projected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), are being realised.
Though the earth naturally undergoes cycles of warming and cooling, the climate system is now moving beyond the patterns of natural variability, within which our society has developed and thrived. The predicted effects of climate change in the western Mediterranean are likely to include rising temperatures, decreasing rainfall and a change in its distribution leading to a subsequent increase in flash floods. A greater degree of unpredictability of extreme weather events, changes in precipitation, drier and hotter summers and heat waves are also expected. Droughts are not expected to affect the human population in Gibraltar very much, as our drinking water largely originates from desalination, but flora and fauna populations are likely to suffer from the decreased rainfall.