ADB forecasts impact of global warming on Azerbaijan

ADB forecasts impact of global warming on Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan, Baku, September 14 / Trend N. Ismayilova /

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) presented projections of the impact of global warming on Azerbaijan and recommendations on how the country can adapt to climate change at a one-day workshop held in Baku on Monday.

ADB's chief specialist on climate change in Central and West Asia, Peter Hayes, said that according to forecasts, the average temperature in Azerbaijan will increase toward the middle of the 21st century and sea levels will rise by 150 centimeters. This would cause flooding of 88,000 hectares in the coastal zone of Azerbaijan, as well as increase frequency of droughts and expand semi-desert and dry steppe areas.

With carbon dioxide emissions associated with energy resources in the U.S. at 20 tons per person, in Canada at 18 tons per person, and in Kazakhstan at14 tons per person, Azerbaijan's figure of 6 tons per person is a relatively low, given the development of the country's oil refining sector.

Hayes said that by the end of the century, forecast global average temperature will be 3-7 degrees Celsius. According to some forecasts, the figure is more than 6-9 degrees.

"Azerbaijan can expect a slight increase in temperature - by one degree Celsius. Average temperatures are increasing today as proof of this," he said.

During the past ten years, average temperature in Azerbaijan increased by 0.4 degrees.

This figure rises to 0.7-0.9 degrees in some foothill areas, showing the effect of global climate change in Azerbaijan.

Hayes said that Azerbaijan, in common with the Caspian region, is experiencing declining water levels.

"The reserves of water resources in the country, compared to past periods, are in decline. According to expectations, their consumption will be increased in future and such resources need adapting," he said.

Asif Verdiyev, the chief hydrologist of the Hydrometeorological Service of the Azerbaijani Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, said that a significant decrease in water levels in the Kura and Araz rivers occured in 2000. As a result, the level of water in the Mingachevir reservoir decreased. Work was carried out and a joint analysis with Georgian experts was made to identify the reasons.

"According to our estimates, changes in water levels in rivers due to climate change may impact the economy," Verdiyev said.

Hayes said that the ADB recommends adaptation to climate change through improved procedures for assessing risk, vulnerability, and options for risk management and adaptation.

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