Climate change and environmental damage are two of the most dramatic challenges facing the world today. Many countries are already feeling the effects of climate change. In our part of the world, the changes in Azerbaijan are dramatic too.
Now I will write about the areas which can get affected easily by climate change.
Water supply, agriculture and human health are considered to be sensitive areas of climate change in Azerbaijan. As can be seen, these areas coincide with the areas of climate change that are hampering human development.
Water resources. As a result of the expected climate change, surface water resources will decrease by 23% to 22.5 km 3 in 2021-2050. Azerbaijan is the poorest country in the South Caucasus in terms of water resources. Given that 70% of the country’s water resources are formed in other neighboring countries, this situation will be exacerbated. Because climate change will inevitably lead to water shortages in neighboring countries and increase demand and pressure on existing resources. As now, the most sensitive areas in the future will be agriculture, hydropower and water supply. All these factors will negatively affect the process of human development in the country. The fact that more than 40% of Azerbaijan’s population is employed in agriculture makes it undesirable to have problems with water supply. In addition, the impact of climate change, especially in large cities, can lead to water supply problems and a reduction in the country’s limited hydropower potential in the current context, which could slow human development in the country.
The following adaptation measures can be taken to mitigate the adverse effects of expected climate change:
a) improvement of water resources management systems;
b) involvement of additional water sources;
c) strengthening flood control
d) reduction of water losses and improvement of quality in the water supply system;
e) construction of small HPPs on mountain rivers and irrigation canals, etc. Agriculture. It is possible that climate change has both positive and negative effects. As a result of the effects of global warming, the expected increase in hot resources and the duration of the growing season in our country may have a positive impact on the cotton sector. Thus, the currently cultivated cotton varieties can be replaced by higher quality late-maturing varieties. Their productivity can be taken to the level of the 80s of the last century and higher. Forecasts suggest that by the end of the century, the border of the current area of grain growing will be able to move towards the mountains. However, due to the limited availability of suitable land resources in these areas, no significant expansion of grain fields to the mountains is expected.
In 2021-2050, the boundaries of industrially important vineyards may rise from the current 800-900m to 200-450m in the mountains, depending on the region. However, due to the large size of these heights and the lack of suitable areas for viticulture, it is not expected to be widespread in these areas.
As can be seen, the warm weather creates conditions for the cultivation of hardy plants in Azerbaijan, but it is unfavorable for melons and fruit crops. In addition, the expected shortage of water in irrigated agricultural areas may aggravate the situation.
The following adaptation measures should be taken to mitigate and prevent as much as possible the adverse effects of expected climate change:
a) selection, introduction and application of hardy, drought-resistant and high-yielding varieties;
b) continuation and expansion of land reclamation measures against soil salinization and erosion, drought and white winds;
c) mass application of water-saving technologies in irrigated areas;
d) improvement and expansion of the existing storage system of agricultural products (warehouse, refrigerator, etc.), etc.
Population health. In the summer of 2003-2006, the 1.5 ° C increase in the average air temperature in Baku increased the incidence of diseases by various causes by 20-34% compared to previous years. The additional mortality rate is low (3.4%), which is due to the adaptation of the local population to the long hot summer conditions. However, the number of deaths from myocardial infarction and stroke increased by 26% and 56%, respectively. In the future, the increase in the number of elderly people at risk and the presence of “heat islands” in cities may further increase the negative effects of extreme heat.
According to the characteristics of the spread of malaria in the country,
344 are divided into: endemic, epidemic and malaria-free zones. As a result of global warming, it can be expected that the boundaries of both endemic and epidemic malaria zones will rise towards the mountains, and the epidemic season will prolong, especially in mountainous areas. However, given that sparsely populated areas above 1,500 m above sea level and currently only 1.2% of the country’s population live in this area, new outbreaks of malaria are unlikely to occur at these altitudes.
The following key adaptation measures can be implemented to reduce the potential adverse effects of climate change on public health:
a) taking into account the existing “heat islands” effect and expected climate change when designing settlements and buildings;
b) rapid greening of cities and establishment of green areas around the city;
c) forecasting and prevention of malaria epidemics;
d) improving the quality of drinking water, etc.
From the above, it can be concluded that climate change has its effects in our country and affects the process of human development in general. Most of the negative impacts in the above areas affect the most vulnerable segments of the Azerbaijani population (rural population, the elderly, etc.). This is the whole world. Climate change is exacerbating the existing problems of more vulnerable groups on a global scale. That is why climate change must be combated, mitigation measures must be taken and necessary steps must be taken to adapt. When this problem is approached superficially and not taken seriously, it may be too late.
Chichak🇦🇿, volunteer in Sosnowiec.
The project is co-funded by European Solidarity Corps.