Spurred on by the global urgency on climate change, the Eastern European nation is approaching the issue with greater rigor.
Belarus has not been spared the effects of climate change, but the country has been hesitant to act on the issue. Until now. Spurred on by the global urgency on climate change, the Eastern European nation is approaching the issue with greater rigor.
A representative of the country’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, Natalia Alejnykova, recently announced plans to develop climate action plans for all the key sectors of the economy by 2022. The plans will cover climate change mitigation, agriculture and forestry adaptation, low-carbon development and a number of other areas.
Having signed on to the Paris Agreement, Belarus has committed to cut its emissions by 28% as compared to 1990 levels by 2030. While this is far from an ambitious commitment, when it is set against targets by countries that are aiming for climate neutrality by 2050, the new plans will hopefully help get the country moving in the right direction.
Belarus adopted a green economy strategy three years ago, with a focus on green innovation, improving people’s quality of life and increasing the competitiveness of the national economy. The government has also been integrating the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals into national development planning, having invested in both legal frameworks and public campaigns for action in this area.
In terms of sustainable energy, Belarus has started to electrify its transport infrastructure and invest in energy efficiency. It has also been actively supporting decentralized solar energy systems with a focus on hospitals, schools and other public buildings.
Still, the current share of renewables in its total electricity production is just 2%, according to government reports. The country is currently involved in multiple international collaborations, such as with IRENA and EBRD, aimed at the further expansion of renewables. The country has also recently joined the EU4Climate project, which should help it reach its Paris goals.
These efforts seem timely as Belarus has been experiencing changes in temperature and precipitation patterns. It is also expected to face more severe droughts and floods in the near future, according to the Climate Risk Profile of Belarus by USAID.
So far, the first half of 2019 has been the warmest in the last 35 years for the country. Its average temperate has increased by 1.3 ℃ since 1990, which has worsened the risk of forest fires, reduced crop yields, and seen declines in water quality.
The new frameworks should prove relevant to the challenges the country is about to face.