ArmInfo. According to the climate change scenario, taking into account continuing emissions, by 2100 the average global temperature will increase by 2.9-3.4 + C compared with the pre-industrial era. According to the World Meteorological Organization, heat waves, which became the deadliest meteorological phenomena in 2015-2019, affected all continents and led to many new temperature records.
Between 2015 and 2019 in the world, there has been a steady increase in levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other major greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to new record levels. At the same time, the growth rate of CO2 levels is almost 20% higher than the growth rate in the previous five years. According to expert estimates, for the period 2030-2050 (compared with 1980-1999), the temperature in the South Caucasus will likely to increase by 1-2 + ‘. EcoLur NGO coordinator Victoria Burnazyan notes that Armenia is a vulnerable territory in terms of climate change.
On the one hand, Armenia's influence on the global climate system is insignificant: the country's share in global carbon dioxide emissions is only 0.014%. Meanwhile, the temperature increase in the republic exceeds the global average (1.1 + C), amounting to 1.23 + C from 1929 to 2016. From 1935 to 2016 Armenia recorded a decrease in average annual precipitation by 9%, and in 1975-2016 the number of dangerous hydrometeorological phenomena (drought, frost, hail, and so on) increased by 20%, compared with 1961-1990.
Experts note: land degradation is one of the worst consequences of climate change. 77.4% of the territory of Armenia is at risk of desertification and only 22.6% of the territory is not affected by this process. In 1990-2010 carbon stocks accumulated in the biomass of forests in Armenia decreased from 17 million tons to 13 million tons. This means that during this period a large mass of forest was cut down. According to some reports, forest areas in Armenia decreased from 11.2% to 7-10%. In terms of climate change, the optimal forest area for Armenia is 20.1%. Thus, it is necessary to additionally plant 270 thousand ha of forest, and optimally - 600 thousand ha. According to the forecasts of the Third National Communication of Armenia on climate change, by 2030 the river flow in the republic will decrease by 11.9%, by 2070 - by 24%, and by 2100 - by 37.8%. By 2030, agro-climatic zones will shift by 100 m, and by 2100, by 200-400 m. Yields are also expected to decrease as a result of higher temperatures, less rainfall and more evaporation from the soil surface. There will also be a need for additional irrigation water, which will be about 202 million cubic meters. According to expert estimates, a decrease in productivity and degradation of agricultural land is expected; areas of alpine and subalpine pasture lands will decrease by 19 and 22%, respectively, semi-desert and meadow-steppe - by 17%.
Due to climatic changes, forest ecosystems will suffer due to fires, diseases and the mass reproduction of pests, which may lead to the death of Armenian forests on a scale of 14 thousand to 17 thousand hectares by 2030.
The situation in other countries of the region
According to expert estimates, by 2100 in Western Georgia the average annual temperature will increase by 1.8 + C-5.2 + C, and in Eastern Georgia by 3.5-4.9 + C. Climate change in Georgia can lead to a sharp reduction in the number of frosty days and an earlier onset of the growing season. Speaking about the current situation in the country, the Georgian environmental expert Medea Inashvili notes that changes in precipitation and their volumes are insignificant, but the picture as a whole has changed: there are long torrential rains and droughts, soil erosion, and forest degradation. Basically, climate change affected the Black Sea, where there is an increase in sea level. Due to climatic changes, floods and floods are observed in Western Georgia, and an increase in river levels in Eastern Georgia, which makes this region vulnerable to floods. In addition, snowless winters negatively affect agriculture. Thus, a reduction in agricultural productivity is another negative factor in climate change.
UNDP's regional assessment forecasts a 5-23% reduction in the number of Azerbaijan by the end of the century. Environmental expert from Azerbaijan Namik Rzayev draws attention to the fact that over the past 20 years, the average annual temperature in the country has increased by 0.4-0.9 degrees. In Azerbaijan, the total number of climate refugees amounted to about 200 thousand people. In addition, since 1963, the number of glaciers has almost halved due to climate change and the intensification of melting processes.
In summer, extremely hot weather can be observed in Azerbaijan, and the so-called "heat islands" have become the norm in Baku and other large cities, which exacerbates the problem. The consequences of climate change in Azerbaijan: increased risk of natural disasters (floods, landslide processes, etc.), reduced yields, rising sea levels and salinization of coastal areas, lack of drinking water, extreme heat. Winter pasture productivity will improve, but their territories will decrease due to soil erosion. The expected climate change has a potential impact on human health, including due to changes in living conditions. The main problem is the absence in Azerbaijan of laws on combating climate change in environmental legislation, as well as the lag in the development of programs and action plans to mitigate the effects of climate change, and to adapt to them. The material was prepared based on the workshop "Needs and Opportunities for Adaptation to Climate Change in the South Caucasus", held in Tbilisi on February 27.