TODAY.AZ / Business

Gas emissions significantly decrease in Azerbaijan

13 July 2017 [17:35] - TODAY.AZ

By Azernews      

By Amina Nazarli

Energy-rich Azerbaijan has achieved high economic growth and well-being over a short time period. The country’s economic power and national GDP have increased significantly thanks to the hydrocarbon revenues.

Despite the rising GDP volume, greenhouse gases emissions have significantly decreased, said Ecology and Natural Resources Minister Huseyngulu Bagirov.

The relationship between energy consumption and economic growth is becoming increasingly close. The energy consumption is also the major source of greenhouse gases, which can significantly affect the balance of the global ecosystem. Countries worldwide seek to address climate change, reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and implement sustainable development strategies.

Bagirov, addressing a cabinet meeting on results of socio-economic development in the first half of 2017 and objectives for the future on July 12, said that Azerbaijan has improved its environmental performance in the report prepared by prestigious international agency.

The 2016 Environmental Performance Index, compiled by researchers from Yale University and Columbia University that evaluates how nations protect their ecosystems and human health, placed Azerbaijan 31st among 180 countries.

The report placed Azerbaijan into second place among Eastern Europe and Central Asia countries, while the country left behind the CIS countries.

Bagirov said that Azerbaijan is among the top five countries in terms of assessment of forests, which became possible thanks to increase of forest area, broadening of forest seedlings, and strengthening of forest protection measures.

“Under this assessment, Azerbaijan is in the second place in terms of eradication of factors affecting the climate and the impact of energy use on the environment, and the first place for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Despite the fact that the GDP in Azerbaijan has increased by several times, gas emissions have decreased from 73 to 51 million of tons since 1990. This was possible thanks to great importance attached to sustainable development principles, development of environmentally friendly industry and renewable energy sector, increase of energy efficiency and, most importantly, to Azerbaijan's own resources,” he said.

Speaking about forest lands, the minister said that over the last 15 years the area increased by 144.500 hectares, and 101.5 million trees were planted.

He said that in 2017-2021 it is planned to plant olive groves at 5,396 hectares of land, which alongside providing the local market, will bring about $50 million export potential per year.  

Azerbaijani forests are a rich source of biodiversity and habitat to a number of rarest species of flora and fauna. More than 450 tree and shrubbery species are growing in the Azerbaijani forests where overwhelming majority of the tree species are represented by the hardwood species.

Saying that conservation of biodiversity is one of the Ministry’s key activities, Bagirov noted that all the work underway to create the first biosphere reserve in the history of the country in Zagatala-Balakan region.

Preservation of the nature and biological diversity is one of the basic priorities of the state policy in Azerbaijan, while large-scale state programs directed to the improvement of the ecological situation have been implemented during the past decade.

Despite emitting about 0.1 percent of the total greenhouse gasses, Azerbaijan implements projects and actions not only in climate change adaptation, but in its mitigation as well.

Azerbaijan, in accordance with the recently ratified Paris Agreement, voluntarily has taken obligation to achieve 35 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to the base year 1990 as its contribution to the global climate change mitigation efforts.  

The country also plans to increase the share of alternative and renewable energy sources in the country's energy balance up to 20 percent by 2020. 


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