NUR-SULTAN – The Kazakh capital hosted the presentation of the book Tomorrow Was Late: Environmental Risks of Kazakhstan on June 17, bringing together, virtually and physically, representatives of government and international organizations to participate in the event.
The environment concerns us all. Kazakhstan was among the first countries in the post-Soviet space to implement the idea of a green economy and promote significant changes in ecology. But environmental issues are becoming increasingly urgent and complex as countries strive for sustainable development.
The book covers several important topics – water resource management, air pollution, waste management, land degradation, biodiversity, energy resource efficiency and climate change – with a common goal of show the direct and indirect links between environmental threats and risks in Kazakhstan. The authors of the book also hoped that it could serve as a set of recommendations for policymakers and NGOs to prevent or mitigate environmental threats.
In his opening remarks, Zulfahar Zholdashov, head of the Department of Ecological Regulation and Control at the Kazakh Ministry of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources, touched on some of the main issues the government is trying to address, including air quality, water pollution and waste management.
“We are monitoring our big cities and ten cities are among the most polluted – Nur-Sultan, Almaty and our industrial cities Temirtau, Balhash, Ust-Kamenogorsk,” he said.
He also explained how the new Environmental Code, which is expected to come into force on July 1, can help address these issues, including through the introduction of new technologies. According to the new environmental code, the 50 largest companies, which account for 80% of emissions in Kazakhstan, will replace their old technology with the best available technologies by 2025.
Participants agreed that addressing environmental issues requires a multisectoral approach from both government and NGOs.
Climate change is also among the issues that need to be addressed, said Vadim Nee, an environmental expert addressing the panel session.
“Anthropogenic factors are causing climate change and we need to review Kazakhstan’s contribution,” he said, noting that the volume of emissions is increasing and has exceeded the 1990 level.
He said that by 2030, the temperature could rise by two degrees Celsius and cause an increase in water flows in June and May and a decrease in flows in July and August when water is needed for irrigation.
“What we get is that key sectors will be at risk, those that play an important role in economic growth like agriculture,” he said.
He said that Kazakhstan has taken important steps in this area, but there is still a lot to do. People should also switch to a low carbon lifestyle, because “the temperature will rise and we will not be able to change anything in the near future, so we have to change our life and adapt to the economy,” he said. -he declares.
Despite the negative effects associated with problems in the energy sector, it remains crucial for the economy, said Alexey Kobzev, head of renewable energy projects at the German Kazakh University.
“The energy sector is the bloodstream of the country and the economy,” Kobzev said.
Among the problems to be resolved in the sector are the dilapidated heating and electricity networks, 43% of the heating networks being worn out.
“The electricity network is also suffering losses, nearly 14% of the electricity is lost,” he added.
Kobzev notes that a 3% share of renewable energies in the total energy balance was achieved in 2020.
The use of computer technologies could help Kazakhstan in this effort.
“A target of six percent by 2025 is very realistic, but that includes stimulating maneuvering capabilities and creating market mechanisms,” he said.
The project was implemented by the Dosym Satpayev Foundation in partnership with the Kazakh-German University and with the support of the OSCE Program Office in Nur-Sultan, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Kazakhstan and the eco -living Asia magazine.