Georgia, which aims to be a “hydropower giant”, will strive to become a carbon neutral by 2050, PM Irakli Garibashvili told the UN climate summit in New York on September 23.
He said a new global climate deal, due to be agreed in Paris in 2015 and to enter into force from 2020, should “help the most vulnerable countries in adapting to climate change and contribute to achieving climate-resilient sustainable development.”
Georgia’s emission of carbon dioxide, primary greenhouse gas, accounted for 0.016% of total global emissions of 36.1 billion tonnes in 2013, according to the Global Carbon Project.
“No country is immune to climate change. In my country climate change is leading to increased warming, the reduction of water supply in important trans-boundary basins, extreme weather events, and climate-related hazards,” PM Garibashvili said. “Due to our complex mountainous topography, Georgia is prone to natural hazards, including floods, landslides, and mudflows.”
Climate related issues are not high on politicians’ agenda in Georgia and the summit drew much attention in Georgia not because of topics discussed at this high-level gathering – first of this kind in five years, but because of wrangling that was ongoing between President Giorgi Margvelashvili and PM Garibashvili over which one of them should have attended the summit. On September 22 President Margvelashvili traveled to Adjara region on Georgia’s Black Sea coast, to visit flood and landslide-hit areas; several neighborhoods in Batumi were flooded as a resulted of heavy rains over the weekend and landslide affected over dozen of families in several villages in Adjara.
Speaking at the UN climate summit, PM Garibashvili also said that the “time for action is now, before climate change creates widespread and unpredictable change around the world.”
Noting that Georgia is using renewable energy to provide more than 80% of its electricity, the PM said: “Our ambition is for Georgia to be a hydropower giant.”
“We will not only power our own country with hydropower, but be a major clean power supplier to the region,” he said. “Through... developing renewable energy resources, promoting energy efficiency, proper management of forests, and supporting local climate action, Georgia will strive to become a carbon neutral country by 2050.”