How climate change is estimated in Uzbekistan
How climate data can be used when making government decisions in the agricultural sector – in the material “Gazeta.uz”.
Since 2014, each subsequent year has been declared by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) the warmest of all time observations. Most likely, 2019 will not be an exception to this alarming trend. This July, he rewrote the history of the state of the climate, setting dozens of new temperature records at local, national and global levels, said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.
Uzbekistan is among the countries most vulnerable to climate change. Since 1880, the average annual temperature in the country has increased by 1.6 degrees Celsius (from 13.2 to 14.8 degrees), which exceeds the average growth rate on the planet. It is predicted that in 2030–2050 the air temperature in the Central Asian region may increase by another 1.5–3 degrees. Here, the greatest increase in air temperature is expected in the Aral Sea region, because due to the drying up of the Aral Sea there are also specific local climatic changes.
How climate change is estimated
Uzbekistan has been a party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) since 1993 and has ratified the Paris Climate Agreement in 2018. The country made voluntary quantitative commitments to reduce the carbon intensity of GDP (specific greenhouse gas emissions per unit of GDP) and to adapt to climate change.
The Uzgydromet under the Ministry of Emergencies is the responsible organization for the fulfillment of obligations under the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement. Earlier, Uzgydromet prepared the first (1999), second (2008) and third national reports on climate change (2016).
The Paris Agreement requires the country of reference:
- reports on an inventory of sources of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and assessment of the effectiveness of mitigation measures – every two years;
- national communications on climate change – every four years.
- inventory of sources of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.
Since 2019, the preparation of the fourth national communication has begun, which will take about two years, Uzgydromet expert Raisa Taryannikova, who participated in the preparation of the third national communication, told Gazeta.uz. As a result, in 2021, the first biennial report on inventory and assessment of the effectiveness of mitigation measures and an inventory of greenhouse gas sources for 1990–2018 should also be prepared.
Where and how should this data be used?
Agriculture provides people with food. And it is most sensitive to climate change, said Tatyana Khamzina, an expert at UZGIP (Uzgipromeliovodkhoz), at a September 10 training for journalists organized by the Regional Environmental Center for Central Asia.
On the irrigation of farmland with an area of 4.3 million hectares, 90–92% of all water used in the country is spent, the agricultural sector accounts for 27% of the country’s employment, and the livelihoods of rural residents mainly depend on agricultural production, the expert said.
Increasing heat supply during climate warming can bring benefits to agriculture – for example, overwintering animals will be easier, less heat-loving crops need to be covered for the winter, and grape sugar content may increase. Opportunities are increasing for obtaining several crops a year, growing late-ripening and heat-loving crops – however, these benefits will be real only with sufficient moisture supply, Tatyana Khamzina emphasized.
At the same time, there are more and more problems with water supply: according to World Bank estimates, today the need for water for irrigation in agriculture has not been fully satisfied. Due to lack of water, by 2030 we can expect a decrease in the yield of winter wheat, cotton and orchards, respectively, by 7–9%, 4–5%, and 6–8%.
Whole strategy instead of fragmented solutions
The damage to the economies of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan caused by climate change is from 0.4% to 1.3% of their annual GDP, the World Bank estimates. Uzbekistan also needs an analysis of possible damage to the main sectors of the economy – water supply, energy, agriculture and forestry, transport – from climate change, World Bank expert Benoit Bosque told Gazete.uz.
A number of state programs are dedicated to the Aral Sea region to mitigate the consequences of the Aral Sea disaster and the development of the region; adopted documents on the development of agriculture, irrigation, improvement of land reclamation conditions and the use of water resources. At the same time, the World Bank expert notes the fragmentation of this work, since there is no “single national coordination mechanism that would take effective measures in response to the challenges of climate change”.
Indeed, the country does not yet have such a comprehensive strategy for responding to climate change that would oblige them to be taken into account when adopting and implementing all state and sectoral development programs and plans.
The development of an agricultural development strategy for the next ten years has recently begun, which will largely reflect responses to climate challenges. One of the main directions of the strategy is the improvement of efficiency and keeping records of water use, as well as the introduction of water-saving technologies on 200 thousand hectares of space every year.
“200 thousand hectares every year on water-saving technologies is a very ambitious task. But if we don’t set such ambitious goals, there will be no progress, ”commented Gazeta.uz Alexey Volkov, national coordinator of the Small Grants Program of the Global Environment Facility (GEF SGP). “We hope that the experience of the GEF SGP in conservation agriculture will be reflected in the draft of this strategy.”