Paris Agreement Ratified
At a recent general session of the upper house of parliament, the law on the ratification of the Paris Agreement to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change has been approved. What is the essence of this document? What does it give to Uzbekistan? What commitments does Uzbekistan assume? These questions are addressed in the following commentaries by our parliamentarians.
The Paris Agreement was inked in December 2015 at the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. It will begin to be implemented in 2020 and has replaced the Kyoto Protocol, but, unlike the latter, it established specific requirements for both developed and developing nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The document is aimed at more active implementation of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change in the context of sustainable development, including through the implementation of following measures.
First, they help keep growth in global average temperatures beneath 2°C above pre-industrial levels and limit temperature increases to 1.5°C, which will require reduction in global emissions of greenhouse gases by 40-70% by 2050 and achieving zero or negative emission rates of greenhouse gases by the year 2100.
Second, it can improve the ability to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change and promote resilience to climate change and development with low greenhouse gas emissions, while avoiding threats to food production.
Third, it can boost financial flows that ensure development characterized by low emissions and resistance to climate change.
The main obligation of countries is to present the estimated contributions, determined at the national level, to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which they have the opportunity to review every 5 years starting from 2023 and, if they wish, increase them. Other commitments of this agreement related to Uzbekistan include the elaboration of proposals and implementation of practical measures based on their own national conditions and with the support of advanced nations, aimed at formulating a longterm development strategy with low greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening adaptive capacities and cutting vulnerability to climate change, ensuring the realization of national adaptation plans.
At the same time, the participation of any state is provided on the basis of justice and the principle of common but differentiated responsibility and corresponding opportunities, taking into account national conditions. The Paris Agreement establishes a major commitment for countries to submit alleged contributions to reducing greenhouse gas emissions that they intend to achieve by 2030.
The agreement was signed by Uzbekistan on April 19, 2017, and an Inter-Agency Working Group was set up to conduct a comprehensive weighted assessment of the dynamics and projections of greenhouse gas emissions, taking into account economic growth, the potential for their reduction based on the planned activities reflected in the sector-based intentions on the basis of which it came up with proposals to the Framework Convention Secretariat to strengthen measures and actions to combat climate change. In particular, on the expected reduction in specific greenhouse gas emissions per unit of GDP by 10% by 2030 from the level of 2010, adopted as the baseline, with physical growth of greenhouse gases to 60-65 percent.
The purposeful policy of the head of our state to consistently and gradually modernize industry, energy efficiency and energy saving in key sectors of the economy has already allowed us to stabilize the level of greenhouse gas emissions.
As one of the targets for the period up to 2030, the reduction of the energy intensity of GDP is approximately doubled as a result of the widespread introduction of modern energy-saving technologies in the country. In this direction, one of the guiding documents was the decree of the President signed May 26, 2017, on the Program of Measures for the Further Development of Renewable Energy, Improving Energy Efficiency in the Economy and Social Sphere for 2017-2021. It is aimed at the further development of the country’s hydropower potential, with the expansion of the ecologically clean hydropower capacity 1.7 times by 2025, as well as the enhancement of the use of renewable energy sources, reduction of the energy intensity of production, and targeted introduction of energysaving technologies. The State Program for the Development of the Aral Region for 2017-2021 was adopted and is being implemented, which will serve to perk up the ecological and socio-economic situation, the living conditions of the local population, and mitigate the consequences of the environmental disaster of the Aral. A number of significant initiatives put forward by the head of our state at the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS) summit on August 24, 2018, aimed at uniting the common efforts of the Central Asian region in order to create conditions for attracting foreign investment into the elaboration and introduction of environmentally clean, energy and water saving technologies, to the realization of measures to weather the impact of the ecological catastrophe of the Aral Sea, comprehensive introduction of principles of green economy, included proposals on the announcement of the Aral region as a zone of ecological innovations and technologies, the creation of multi-partner trust fund for human security for this area, opening of representative offices of the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the Global Environment Fund under the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea.
In addition, in the context of industries, sectors of economy and territories, a single action plan is being developed to prevent climate change and adapt to adverse impacts. In addition, the implementation of the joint project of the United Nations Development Program and the Ministry of Economy of Uzbekistan “Strategy of low-carbon development of the Republic of Uzbekistan” to integrate climate change issues into the sustainable development of the national economy, as a kind of political tool, allows not only to identify sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the country, but also determine the most effective ways to reduce them. Along with this, the preparation of the National Adaptation Plan, which will be funded by the Green Climate Fund, is envisaged.
Uzbekistan’s participation in the Paris Agreement provides the country with a number of benefits. In particular, the possibility of attracting climate finance resources, mainly grants, of obtaining loans from international financial institutions and donor nations, additional technical resources for the implementation of current and future programs on energy saving, in the economic and social sphere, agriculture and others. Also, cooperation in the field of adaptation to climate change provides the country with the opportunity to implement adaptation measures to increase resilience and reduce vulnerability to climate change within the framework of national interests. In addition, it provides for the implementation of measures to cope with the adverse effects of climate change, which will be provided by donors, if evidence of damage is provided for this reason.
Energy saving measures will hoard a significant amount of primary energy sources, mainly natural gas. Investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy are relevant both from an economic – reducing energy costs, – and climatic point of view in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. At the initiative of deputies of the Legislative Chamber from the Ecology Movement, a draft law on renewable energy sources has been worked out, which is currently discussed in the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis in the first reading and preparations are underway for the second reading.
Uzbekistan also gets access to new technologies for mitigation and adaptation to climate change, as well as the opportunity to attract resources of the Green Climate Fund for the implementation of national programs on energy efficiency and energy saving, development of renewable energy sources, improvement of land and water resources management systems, combating negative consequences of the Aral crisis, desertification, drought.
To achieve the objectives of long-term sustainable development, it is necessary to boost institutional capacity building, devise a long-term low-carbon development strategy that defines energy efficiency targets, and elaborate a program of measures for transition to a lowcarbon development path for key sectors of the economy (electric power, thermal energy, housing and utility services) which make a major contribution to greenhouse gas emissions in Uzbekistan and improvement of the legislative base in the field of renewable energy efficiency and carbon financing mechanisms.
It is proposed to contemplate a special national program to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change in Uzbekistan. The document would address the problems of the negative impact of climate change in the field of water resources, on public health, would help increase the sustainability of the healthcare sector, as well as the implementation of measures to introduce resource-saving and waste-free technologies and innovative sustainable approaches for the effective management of land and water resources in order to prevent degradation and desertification of land, new services and entrepreneurship with a wide range of economic instruments.
Ratification of the Paris Agreement testifies to the commitment of the Republic of Uzbekistan to universal values, ideas of environmental protection reflected in the document, and will contribute to the enhancement of international cooperation with the Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Our reference: Greenhouse gases are gases with high transparency in the visible range and with high absorption in the far infrared range. The presence of such gases in the atmospheres of the planets leads to a greenhouse effect, that is, an increase in the temperature of the lower layers of the planet’s atmosphere.