Pollution and climate change cost Lebanon more than half a billion dollars a year, the environment minister said on Friday ahead of the UN climate talks. “The state loses up to $550 million to pollution annually, $100 million of which is due to climate change,” Environment Minister Mohammad Rahhal told a conference in Beirut. The tourism, health and agriculture sectors are most affected by the losses, Rahhal said. The government, which for the first time plans to start a fund for environmental issues, has concrete plans to fight climate change, he added. “We aim for 12 percent of Lebanon’s energy to be produced through alternative sources by 2012,” he said, adding Lebanon should capitalize on the wide availability of wind, water and sun. Rahhal warned that temperatures in Lebanon were expected to rise two degrees on average in the next four decades, and five degrees by the turn of the century. Rainfall is also expected to drop 50 percent by 2099 if measures to fight climate change are not put into effect, he added. Prime Minister Saad Hariri is heading a Lebanese delegation at the UN summit on climate change in Copenhagen next week, accompanied by members of civil society groups.