On May 15, the world celebrates International Climate Day. This important ecological data calls all the inhabitants of the planet to pay attention to the problems of the climate crisis. Over the past 35 years, climatic changes have dramatically accelerated, and almost every year sets new temperature records.
The fact that the Earth's climatic conditions have changed has been recorded by various measuring instruments - the planet's average annual temperature is rising, glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising, and precipitation patterns are changing. At the same time, scientific research has shown that climate change results from an increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the Earth's atmosphere, and it cannot be explained by natural cycles alone. The theory of anthropogenic climate change has been long and well elaborated by scientists, so it is already reflected in documents, which politicians at national and international levels adopt!
How is climate change affecting Kazakhstan?
According to scientists’ forecasts, the Central Asian region will face desertification, increased fire hazards of forests and steppes, reduced glaciers, and worse conditions for agriculture. Natural disasters such as landslides, mudslides, avalanches, floods, hurricane winds, frosts and droughts will increase in mountainous regions. Also, climate change leads to deterioration of soil quality.
Since the mid-twentieth century, Kazakhstan has been facing the negative consequences of climate change. Every decade since 1940, the average annual temperature in the country has increased by 0.28°C. Especially high growth is noted for the autumn season (0.31°С). At the same time, there has been a significant decrease in average annual precipitation by more than 0.2 mm over 10 years. Kazakhstan is already beginning to experience shortages of water resources and is projected to face serious water shortages by 2040. Since almost all sectors of the economy depend on water, GDP may decrease due to its deficit in the regions of the country.
The country’s steps toward carbon neutrality
Kazakhstan should take serious measures in the next few years and revise its climate agenda. If no decisive action is taken today, subsequent adaptation to climate change will require much greater effort and costs. The country adopted a Strategy for Achieving Carbon Neutrality in April 2023. The strategy’s main objective is to achieve sustainable development of Kazakhstan's economy to climate change and carbon neutrality by 2060. The medium-term objective is to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions by 2030 by 15% compared to the 1990 level of emissions (minimal goal) and to bring the reduction to 25% if decarbonization of the economy is supported by the international community (ideal goal).
The transition to a low-carbon economy not only requires decisions at the national level. Society will also have to fundamentally change its attitude to climate change. We all already need to change the way we live and the way we consume resources. Sustainable development issues, especially those related to climate change, the energy transition, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, will be included in educational programs on all levels.
Sources (in Russian):
- Strategy to Achieve Carbon Neutrality in the Republic of Kazakhstan by 2060 (approved by Presidential Decree No. 121 of February 2, 2023)
- Updated National Contribution of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the Global Response to Climate Change (approved by Decree of the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan No. 313 of April 19, 2023)
- Development of Renewable Energy Sources (fact sheet)
Additional materials by United Nations: