Book Launch: Climate Change in Central Asia – Decarbonization, Energy Transition and Climate Policy

24 April, 2023


Date: April 24, 14:00 – 17:00
Venue: OSCE Academy in Bishkek, Conference hall, Zoom webinar
Language: English
Organizers: OSCE Academy, Kyrgyzstan

To address the urgent need for scholarship on climate change in Central Asia, and in particular the need for research by social scientists, this book includes contributions from a range of contributors relating to climate change impacts, adaptation, and mitigation in the region. Throughout, we try to capture the broader societal implications of climate-related issues. The book includes 12 chapters in addition to this introductory chapter. Each chapter makes an important contribution to social science scholarship on climate change and decarbonization in Central Asia and covers a topic that has received little or no attention in the literature to date. Many of the chapters cover the entirety of the Central Asian region, while some focus on individual countries.

Key messages

  • Climate change presents new challenges for Central Asia and decarbonization efforts in the region will bring about significant changes in various socioeconomic areas.
  • The countries in Central Asia have made ambitious commitments under the Paris Agreement, but achieving these goals will be challenging.
  • The most vulnerable groups, such as women and the poor, are particularly susceptible to the impacts of climate change at the household level. At the macroeconomic level, industries such as agriculture, infrastructure, and energy supply will face significant disruptions and require significant investments to adapt.
  • The shift towards clean energy globally may also have political implications for the Central Asian petrostates.
  • Despite facing common threats and having shared resources, the countries have been slow in adopting a regional approach to addressing climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts.

Preliminary Agenda
13:45 - 14:00    Arrival and Registration
14:00 - 14:05    Welcoming speech by Indira Satarkulova, Acting Director, OSCE Academy
14:05 - 14:10    Introduction of the book by Rahat Sabyrbekov, OSCE Academy
14:10 - 14:25    Panel 1:  Climate Change in Central Asia. Moderator: Rahat Sabyrbekov
1. Climate Change Research and Policy in Central Asia: Current Situation and Future Perspectives. Alisher Mirzabaev
2. Energy Transition in Central Asia: A Systematic Literature Review. Burulcha Sulaimanova, Indra Overland, Rahat Sabyrbekov, Roman Vakulchuk
3. Climate Change: A Growing Threat for Central Asia. Anne Sophie Daloz [Online - Confirmed]
14:25 - 14:40    Q&A session
14:40 - 15:15    Panel 2:  Central Asian Decarbonisation Pathways Moderator: Indra Overland
1. Central Asian Climate Policy Pledges under the Paris Agreement: Can they be Fulfilled? Rahat Sabyrbekov, Indra Overland and Roman Vakulchuk
2. Decarbonisation Opportunities and Emerging Carbon Pricing Instruments in Central Asia. Gulim Abdi, Nurkhat Zhakiyev and Shynar Toilybayeva
3. The Importance of Boosting Societal Resilience in the Fight Against Climate Change in Central Asia. Fabienne Bossuyt
15:15 - 15:30    Q&A session
15:30 - 16:00    Coffee break
16:00 - 16:15    Panel 3: Climate Change in Central Asia and International Implications Moderator: Roman Vakulchuk
1. A ‘Steppe’ into the Void: Central Asia in the Post-Oil World. Morena Skalamera
2. Towards a Geoeconomics of Energy Transition in Central Asia’s Hydrocarbon-Producing Countries. Yana Zabanova
3. The Dual Relationship Between Human Mobility and Climate Change in Central Asia: Tackling the Vulnerability of Mobility Infrastructure and Transport-Related Environmental Issues. Suzy Blondin [Online - Confirmed]
16:15 - 16:30    Q&A session
16:30 (17:00)   Closing remarks. Book editors.

Speakers and Authors

Dr. Rahat Sabyrbekov received his PhD from School of Economics and Business at Norwegian University of Life Sciences. He obtained his Master's degree from University of Birmingham, the United Kingdom. Rahat is a Visiting Fellow at Davis Center at Harvard University. Rahat’s research interests include environmental economics, ecosystem services, natural capital, and natural resource management. Dr. Sabyrbekov teaches Economics and Sustainable Management of Mineral Resources course at the OSCE Academy. His recent publications include  Putting the foot down: Accelerating EV uptake in Kyrgyzstan (2023), Know your opponent: Which countries might fight the European carbon border adjustment mechanism? (2022), Fossil Fuels in Central Asia: Trends and Energy Transition Risks (2022).

Dr. Indra Overland is Research Professor and Head of the Research Group on Climate and Energy at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI). He previously headed the Russia and Eurasia Research Group at NUPI and has worked on Central Asia since 2001. He completed his PhD at the University of Cambridge, followed by a three-year post-doctoral project on Central Asia and the South Caucasus. He has carried out fieldwork in all Central Asian states and has been responsible for cooperation between the OSCE Academy in Kyrgyzstan and NUPI since 2007. Every year he teaches MA students from all Central Asian countries on energy issues and hosts 4-5 Central Asian students in Norway. He is (co)author of ‘Caspian Energy Politics’ (Routledge), ‘China’s Belt and Road Initiative through the Lens of Central Asia’ (Routledge) ‘Kazakhstan: Civil Society and Natural Resource Policy in Kazakhstan’ (Palgrave), ‘Renewable Energy Policies of the Central Asian Countries’ (CADGAT). He is a contributing author to the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report (Working Group II).

Dr. Roman Vakulchuk is Senior Researcher at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) in Oslo and holds a PhD degree in Economics from Jacobs University Bremen in Germany. He specializes in Central Asia and Southeast Asia and his main research interests are economic transition, trade, energy, climate change, and investment policy. Vakulchuk has served as project leader in research projects organized by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the World Bank, the Global Development Network (GDN), the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) and others. In 2018, he worked as governance expert for OECD’s mission in Kazakhstan and advised the government on privatization reform. In 2013, Vakulchuk was awarded the Gabriel Al-Salem International Award for Excellence in Consulting. Recent publications include ‘Seizing the Momentum. EU Green Energy Diplomacy towards Kazakhstan’ (2021), ‘Discovering Opportunities in the Pandemic? Four Economic Response Scenarios for Central Asia’ (2020), ‘Renewable Energy and Geopolitics: A Review’ (2020).

Suzy Blondin received her PhD in geography from the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland, in 2021. Her doctoral dissertation examines (im)mobilities to, from and within Tajikistan’s Bartang Valley and the way rural-urban mobilities help the Bartangis to remain and to preserve intimate bonds with their Valley despite environmental risks and economic vulnerabilities. Her research also brings forward the issue of involuntary immobility caused by frequent hazard-related road closures and low motilities, which threatens local livelihoods. Her work has been published in Mobilities, Geoforum and the Central Asian Survey.

Fabienne Bossuyt is associate professor and coordinator of the Ghent Institute for International and European Studies at the Department of Political Science at Ghent University (Belgium). She is also co-director of the Russia Platform of Ghent University. In addition, she is a professorial fellow at UNU-CRIS and an associate researcher at EUCAM. Her main area of expertise is the EU’s relations with Central Asia. Her most recent research projects focus on various aspects of the EU’s relations with and policies towards Central Asia and other post-Soviet countries, including development policy, human rights promotion and connectivity. She has published articles in, among others, Democratization, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, Journal of International Relations and Development, Eurasian Geography and Economics, Southeast European and Black Sea Studies, East European Politics & Societies, and Communist and Post-Communist Studies. She recently co-edited two books, namely “Principled Pragmatism in Practice: The EU’s Policy towards Russia after Crimea” (Brill) and “The European Union, China and Central Asia. Global and Regional Cooperation in A New Era” (Routledge). In the past few years, she has also acted as rapporteur for the EU Special Representative to Central Asia.

Filippo Costa Buranelli is Senior Lecturer in International Relations at the University of St Andrews and is currently Chair of the English School section at the International Studies Association. His interests include International Relations theory, international history, global governance, Eurasian politics, and comparative regionalism. His research has been published in Millennium: Journal of International Studies, International Studies Quarterly, International Politics, Geopolitics, International Relations, Central Asian Affairs, and Problems of Post-Communism, among several other outlets. He is currently editing a forum on the politics of informality and global governance for International Studies Review and serves as expert advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy on the establishment of an Italy-Central Asia consultation mechanism in the field of scientific cooperation.

Anne Sophie Daloz is a climate scientist at CICERO, Norway. Her work relies on the analysis of climate data from observations to climate models outputs. She has worked on a variety of regions and processes such as Central Asia or Europe, and tropical cyclones, snowfall, clouds or precipitation. She also has a strong interest in connecting climate sciences to other disciplines.
Matteo Fumagalli’s research interests lie at the intersection of the study of identities, ethnic conflict and violence and the politics of natural resources. He has conducted research in the post-Soviet space (especially Central Asia and the South Caucasus) and East Asia (esp. Myanmar, Laos, South Korea, and Bangladesh). Over the years his research has developed along identities, diasporas and conflict in the post-Soviet space, particularly in Central Asia and the Caucasus; energy, mega-projects and climate change.

Elena Kim is a professor of Social Sciences at the American University of Central Asia, Bishkek Kyrgyzstan. Elena’s teaching, research and activism focus on intersecting issues of gender, international development, violence, and gender politics in Central Asia. Her publications include chapters in several books and articles including Violence against Women, Journal of Gender Studies, Gender, Technology and Development, Central Asian Survey, Rural Society, and Women and Therapy.

Alisher Mirzabaev is the Interim Chair of the Production Economics Group, Institute of Food and Resource Economics (ILR) at the University of Bonn. Before joining ILR, he was a senior researcher at the Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn. Previously, he also worked as an economist with the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA). Dr. Mirzabaev was a lead researcher in several international projects with both global and regional focus on Africa and Asia. He was a Coordinating Lead Author of the Chapter on Desertification of the IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land. He has a PhD degree in agricultural economics from the University of Bonn, Germany. He has authored more than 100 scientific publications, including peer-reviewed journal articles, books and book chapters, and discussion papers. His research interests include climate change impacts and adaptation, the economics of land degradation and ecosystem restoration, and the water-energy-food security nexus.

Morena Skalamera is Assistant Professor at Leiden University and an associate at the Belfer Center, Harvard Kennedy School. She teaches courses in international political economy, with a regional focus on Russia and Eurasia. Her research interests include the political economy of Eurasia, Russian and post-Soviet Politics, and the Geopolitics of Energy in Eurasia. Dr. Skalamera has spent extensive time conducting field research in post-Soviet Eurasia, especially in Russia and Central Asia, and in Turkey. Her current writings focus on issues of identity politics, exploring the particular interplay between international and domestic factors in policy making, and contemporary state-market relations with a focus on energy policy dynamics in Russia and Central Asia. She is currently working on a book manuscript that examines how energy firms have shaped the energy relationship between Russia and Europe and the energy strategies of the former Soviet states.

Karina Standal is a human geographer working on energy, gender and development. Her main research interests are within the fields of political and development geography, with a specific focus on decentralized renewable energy systems, electrification, sustainable energy consumption and gender relations. Her geographical focus covers Norway, South Asia and Central-Asia. She has fieldwork experience from Norway, India, Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan.

Aliya Tskhay is a Research Fellow at the School of Management at the University of St Andrews, United Kingdom. She holds a PhD in International Relations from the University of St Andrews. Dr Tskhay’s research focuses on the study of the global energy sector with the focus on the net-zero targets, carbon-negative technologies, and energy transition. She also studies regional integration processes in Eurasia and provides extensive commentaries on the international cooperation in the region.

Nurkhat Zhakiyev is a computer modeler of energy systems, GHG emissions projections in industry sector and Climate change mitigation analyst. He is currently working at Astana IT University. He holds a PhD in physics from the Eurasian National University (Kazakhstan, 2015). After obtaining a PhD degree in 2015 started working as a Researcher at PI “Nazarbayev University Research and Innovation System”, PI “National Laboratory Astana”, Energy Ecology and Climate Laboratory at Nazarbayev University. Nurkhat was involved in projects modeling the energy sector of Kazakhstan using ELMOD, TIMES energy systems modeling tools. In 2015-2021 he participated in the project ‘Development of Kazakhstan’s National Communication to the UNFCCC and BR’ where he was responsible for provision of information about Kazakhstan's activities to mitigate climate change, including policies and measures that it has implemented or plans to implement and update of forecasts for 2030 and 2050 (industrial sector). In 2019-2020, he participated in a soft linking project of CGE (top-down) model of Kazakhstan with TIMES-Kazakhstan (bottom-up) energy system model (PMR/World Bank Project for Kazakhstan). In connection with this project he took part in development of initial data sets, optimization model of the energy system of Kazakhstan, in analysis of the various policies and measures to reduce the impact on climate, in analysis of the role of the emissions trading system and the development of different options for different scenarios.

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