Tashkent, March 24, 2010 — Climate change is already occurring and a trend of warming temperatures across the whole of Uzbekistan has been observed since the last 50 years. According to the World Bank only early action to manage the risks that changing climate trends pose to existing energy infrastructure in Uzbekistan may reduce vulnerability and increase the resilience of the sector as it moves forward.
In the coming decades, Uzbekistan is projected to face rising average temperatures, increasing risk of heat waves, greater warming in summer months, as well as changing precipitation, leading to more floods and droughts
Over 30% of Uzbekistan’s energy infrastructure is outdated and inefficient. However, renovation of the energy sector is a priority for the Government of Uzbekistan and the Government has already made several decisions to replace and upgrade energy generation and transmission assets
To build greater understanding of potential risks and management options, the World Bank, together with the Government of Uzbekistan, conducted a workshop on March 24, 2010 on climate change risks and vulnerability of Uzbekistan’s energy sector. The workshop brought together many of the key stakeholders in Uzbekistan’s energy sector, including government ministries and agencies, utilities and corporations, private companies, expert consultants and university academics, as well as energy sector experts from the World Bank and other international organizations.
World Bank Country Manager for Uzbekistan Loup Brefort, commented: “The objective of the workshop is to develop a shared understanding among all stakeholders of the climate risks, uncertainties and vulnerabilities of Uzbekistan’s energy sector. By analyzing the areas of the energy sector where Uzbekistan might be at risk from climate change, we can identify and more quickly implement solutions that manage the risks. We understand that Uzbekistan has opportunities to build in resilience for climate change when planning and designing new energy infrastructure. The World Bank will continue bringing international experience to Uzbekistan and to work in close partnership with the Government and energy sector to deliver a hands-on, participatory vulnerability and adaptation assessment.”
Uzbekistan’s Second National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (2008) highlighted some key impacts of climate change on the country’s energy sector. For instance, the National Communication identified the effects of rising temperatures on energy demand for heating and cooling. It estimated that rising temperatures could shorten the average duration of the heating season by 8% to 9% by 2030, compared to the baseline 1971-2000.
The duration of the cooling season would increase by 16% by 2030, which will affect energy consumption for air conditioning. It will be important to identify specific adaptation measures that need to be considered in the energy sector. For instance, the National Communication refers to considering climate change when revising energy consumption rates and encouraging the manufacture and import of machinery and equipment better suited to a warmer climate.
This is the first workshop in a series of events on the topic. It is intended to support the development of policies and projects in Uzbekistan that are robust in the face of climatic uncertainties. It should also assist in managing Uzbekistan’s existing energy assets. The second workshop will be held on 20 April 2010, when actions to manage these risks will be discussed.
Uzbekistan joined the World Bank in 1992. The World Bank’s mission in the country is to improve people’s livelihoods through being a partner in economic reforms, supporting the modernization of the country’s social sectors and infrastructure, and sharing its knowledge and experience with the government and the people of Uzbekistan.
Since 1992 total World Bank commitments to Uzbekistan has exceeded US $ 860 million.