located IN the Middle East, the Syrian Arab Republic has a land area of 71,479 sq. mi. (185,180 sq. km.), with a population of 19,929,000 (2006 est.) and a population density of 267 people per sq. mi. (103 people per sq. km.). Some 28 percent of Syria is arable land, with a further 43 percent used as meadows or pasture, much of it for low-intensity grazing of sheep. Only a very small part of the country is woodland.
In terms of its per capita carbon dioxide emissions, Syria ranks 93rd in the world, with emissions of 2.8 metric tons per person in 1990, gradually falling to 2.7 metric tons per person by 2003, after which emissions experienced a significant rise to 3.72 metric tons per person in 2004. Fossil fuels make up 64.5 percent of electricity generation in the country, and hydropower contributes to the remainder, with dams located on the Euphrates River. In 1973, the Syrian government built the Tabaqah Dam on the Euphrates to create a new reservoir called Lake Assad to help with the irrigation of the region, and there have been other, smaller projects in recent years.
About 70 percent of the country's carbon dioxide emissions come from liquid fuels, with 19 percent from gaseous fuels, 7 percent from gas flaring, and 4 percent from the manufacture of cement. Solid fuels are not used in the country. By sector, 42 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions come from the generating of electricity, with 32 percent from manufacturing and construction, and 12 percent from transportation. In terms of the effects of global warming and climate change, Syria has experienced a higher average temperature, which has resulted in some level of desertification and the widespread alienation of marginal arable land as the country draws heavily on its water reserves. One positive benefit, although short term, has been that in the Jabal and Nusariyah mountains, parallel to the coastal plain, there has been a rise in temperature, which has led to the melting of the snows, helping with the irrigation of the heavily populated eastern slopes of the mountain range.
The Syrian government of Hafez al-Assad took part in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, signed in Rio de Janeiro in May 1992. The government of his son Bashar al-Assad accepted the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change on January 27, 2006, with it entering into force on April 27, 2006.
SEE ALSO: Carbon Dioxide; Climate Change, Effects; Deserts; Kyoto Protocol.
BIBLIOGRAPHY. Hussein A. Amery, "Water Wars in the Middle East: A Looming Threat," The Geographical Journal (v.168/4, 2002); A. M. Lapshin, "Cascade of Hydroelectric Units on the Euphrates River in Syria," Power Technology and Engineering (v.24/8-9, August 2000); Peter Theroux, "Syria Behind the Mask," National Geographic (v.190/1, July 1996); World Resources Institute, "Syria—Climate and Atmosphere," http://earthtrends.wri.org (cited October 2007).
JUSTIN CORFIELD Geelong Grammar School, Australia
TAJIKISTAN IS LOCATED in Central Asia, east of China. It is a landlocked country dominated by the Pamir and Alay mountain ranges, with the highest peak being over 7,200 m. (23,600 ft.) high. The valley floors are considered a continental climate zone, whereas the mountains range from semiarid to polar. Climate change has begun to affect the lives of many of the country's seven million residents, particularly those who live in the mountain zones.
According to modeling scenarios published by the government, Tajikistan should see an average temperature increase of 3.2-5.2 degrees F (1.8-2.9 degrees C) by the year 2050. Mean monthly temperature increases varied within the models, but at least one showed a sharp increase in February and March temperatures of 8.5-8.8 degrees F (4.7-4.9 degrees C) over historical averages. Precipitation should increase by 3-26 percent by 2050 in most regions, with several models showing an average increase of 14 percent in the mountains and 18 percent in the valleys. More frequent rainfall will increase soil erosion in the main agricultural sectors.
Six percent of Tajikistan is covered with glaciers, and they are receding at an increasingly worrisome pace. Several thousand small glaciers will vanish entirely by 2050, and the major glacier fields will shrink by 15-20 percent. Over the course of the 20th century, the massive Garmo glacier retreated by 4.3 mi. (7 km.) and shrunk in area by 2.3 mi. (6 sq. km.); the 43.5 mi.-long (70-km.) Fedchenko glacier has retreated 0.6 mi. (1 km.) in length and lost 0.85 mi. (2 sq. km.) of thickness in recent years.
Water flow in the major river basins is expected to decrease by an average of 7 percent by 2050. With increased snowfall in the mountains and the melting of glaciers, the spring floods are anticipated to increase in duration. At the same time, reduced water flow will have a severe effect on irrigation and hydroelectric power production. Mountain villages are already feeling the effects of the changing climate. Over the last few years, mountain communities have seen increased snowfall, which leads to the closure of mountain roads for longer and longer periods and causes severe flooding and landslides when the snows melt. New precipitation patterns, characterized by unusually heavy downpours, have led to flash flooding and crop loss as fields are washed away.
Tajikistan is not a major contributor to global emissions, expelling just 5.1 million metric tons of CO2 in 1998. Of this, 67 percent came from liquid fuels, 29 percent from gaseous sources, and 4 percent from solid fuels. The government of Tajikistan has developed a national mitigation plan as part of their participation in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, pledging to support sustainable agricultural practices, the development of renewable energy sources, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and the protection and development of carbon sinks for mitigation.
sEE ALso: Climate Change, Effects; Floods; Rain.
BIBLioGRAPHY. "Climate Change in Tajikistan 2002," Central and Eastern Europe, Caucasus, and Central Asia Environmental Information Programme, www.enrin.grida.no/ htmls/tadjik/vitalgraphics/eng/index.htm (cited November 1, 2007); "National Action Plan for Climate Change Mitigation," Government of Tajikistan, www.unfccc. int/resource/docs/nap/tainap01e.pdf (cited November 1, 2007); "TAJIKISTAN: Climate Change Threatens Livelihoods of Mountain Villagers IRIN: Humanitarian News and Analysis From Africa, Asia and the Middle East," www. irinnews.org/report.aspx?ReportId=72573 (cited November 1, 2007).
Heather K. Michon Independent Scholar
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