Rahmon proposes to set up international consortium for preservation of glaciers




December 17, 2009, Victoria Naumova



In a statement delivered at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, President Emomali Rahmon noted on December 16 that he supports the fundamentals of  new climate change agreement and offered to set up international consortium for preservation of glaciers, according to presidential press service.


It is scientifically proved that our planet's climate is changing not the first time. However, the current climate change is due, mainly, caused by the individual and is fraught with serious negative consequences for all countries and for every individual around the globe.


Tajikistan because of difficult geographic conditions is becoming more vulnerable to ongoing climate changes, the average annual temperature has increased to 1оC over the past 60 years and a number of days with heavy rainfall have become more often.


In the last 20 years alone, the country has suffered four severe drought years.  According to available estimation, the drought of 2000 - 2001 which covered the whole of Central Asia was the most severe over the past decades. The region was experiencing an acute shortage of water due to which hundreds of thousands of hectares of irrigated land became useless.  On the other hand, the winter in 2007 2008 was one of the most rigorous winters in the history of the country to date.


The largest number of persistent days (26) with an average temperature below -12С was observed in the valleys of Tajikistan for the first time.  As a result of abnormal weather in the spring of 2009, natural disasters have embraced more than 40 areas of the country. The damage caused by natural disasters was estimated at more than 100 million U.S. dollars.


All these phenomena, in turn, lead to severe negative consequences that affect the living standards and significantly reduce capability and potential of the country in achieving sustainable development. And to our deepest regret, sometimes people lose their lives.


However, the key factor of these processes is undoubtedly the intensive melting of snowfields and glaciers.  Over the past decades, the glaciers of Tajikistan have dwindled by 1/3.  It should be noted that along with the impact of climate change on the active melting of glaciers, desiccation of the Aral Sea has influenced this process to some extent as well.  Every year thousands of tons of dust and salt blown up by the wind from the bottom of the dry Aral Sea into the atmosphere and are diffused to vast areas.


According to the estimations of experts, some part of salts settles on the glaciers of the Pamir and Tien Shan, facilitating their intensive melting.


Rahmon noted that according to expert estimates, a 2- to 3-degree rise in a temperature will intensify glacier melting process that will lead to decrease in river flow.  In combination with decreasing precipitation and increasing water consumption it may cause tension in the region in medium-term and long-term perspective, he said.


Tajikistan fully supports the terms of a new climate agreement, which includes restricting and reducing consumption of fossil (carbon) fuel, increased use of renewable sources of energy, reforestation and improvement of land management.  Along with this, we believe that the year of comparison, as stated in the recommendations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) should be 1990.  The transfer of technology, providing cost savings and rational spending of available natural resources is another vector of our efforts. Technology transfer also contributes to the achievement of development goals and objectives while reducing human influence on climate.


Tajikistan is among the countries with the lowest impact on the global warming.  Tajikistan stands 150th among 200 countries in the world for carbon dioxide emissions.  It stands the last in Central Asia in the rate and its share in the regional value of emission amounts less than 5%.  This is explained mainly by the use of hydropower resources, that provides clean and ecologically safe energy. The hydropower plants generate more than 95% of the power in the country which, unlike thermal power plants are not sources of harmful emissions.