By the Numbers: Climate Change in Central Asia
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From devastating floods in Pakistan to growing water scarcity in Central Asia, the impacts of climate change vary widely. The Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program—a partnership of 11 countries from Central Asia, South Asia, the Caucasus, as well as Mongolia and the People’s Republic of China—is working to increase regional cooperation to help the region shift to low-carbon energy sources and build resilience against climate-induced hazards. Initiatives include collaboration in clean energy development, water resources management, and disaster risk preparedness and response.
Here are some key figures that illustrate the impacts of climate change in the CAREC region and demonstrate how vital it is for countries to work together for effective climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Decrease in glacier surface area in Central Asia over the past 50-60 years as a result of changing climate conditions. The melting of snowcaps combined with intensifying weather events have triggered natural calamities such as floods and landslides that are happening more frequently and severely.
The number of people affected by massive flooding in Pakistan in mid-2022. Heavy rains triggered flash floods, landslides, and glacial lake outbursts. In July, the country received more than 60% of average annual monsoon rainfall in just three weeks.
10% to 15%
Estimated drop in water volumes in the Syr Darya and Amu Darya basins by 2050. These two large rivers are crucial sources of water for countries in Central Asia. By 2050-2100 water volumes could decrease by up to 30% in the Syr Darya basin and as much as 40% in the Amu Darya, making it even more important for countries to work together to ensure the region’s water is managed sustainably.
3 billion cubic meters
Uzbekistan’s current water deficit, which could increase to 7 billion cubic meters by 2030 and up to 15 billion cubic meters by 2050 given the decrease of water volumes in the Syr Darya and Amu Darya basins.
The average installed solar and wind energy capacity in the CAREC region despite abundant renewable energy potential. The CAREC region, which is home to some of the most energy-intensive economies in the world, relies heavily on fossil fuels and hydropower for energy.
The amount of energy investments the CAREC region (excluding the PRC) needs by 2030 to enable green growth. Current investments are only about a quarter of this, with most coming from the public sector. The CAREC Green Energy Alliance seeks to attract more investment by mobilizing finance for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects from international and domestic sources.
Source: Asian Development Bank