November 26, 2021 | Friday
You don’t have to live a side ocean to deal with climate change and global warming
Kosovo does not lack rainfall and rivers, but it does lack water. Most of its water and rainfall is not collected but distributed through rivers outside its boundaries. Meanwhile, forests have been significantly reduced by construction, illegal logging and erosion as a result. The question is not whether we should intervene. The question is whether we can do something, and if so, what we can do, before it becomes impossible to intervene. In the second half of this century we may not have this chance
Behare Bajraktari – Assistant Editor at Radio Television of Kosovo
Man is destroying the balance of nature by causing fires, uncontrolled deforestation, and illegal construction in forested areas and inside protected areas. Kosovo may have a negligible contribution globally, but the damage is mainly to Kosovo itself. Annual greenhouse gas emissions in Kosovo for 2019 are estimated at about 9613 Gg (Giga grams) CO2 eq, or about 9.6 million tons of CO2 eq.
It looked like everyone has thought that our influence is none for the world, so by losing the sensitivity of the common sense we have reached peak of breaking the boundaries. We have acted irresponsibly towards water resources, fires or deforestation as is happening in Kosovo. In 481 thousand hectares of forests in Kosovo, according to the Forest Agency, in the last six years alone, about 10 thousand hectares of forests have been burned, causing great environmental damage in rising temperatures.
Temperatures rise at the speed of highways – 10 degrees Celsius for a hundred years
Compared to burning, tree cutting is considered to be the biggest ecocide that people are doing to forests. Irregular tree cutting exceeds the figure by about 90%, construction of hydropower plants without criteria, construction of highways without creating connecting bridges between two sides of the road that should connect flora and fauna, Kosovo will risk 45 percent of the forest area. Kosovo’s forests have a wide fauna and flora that is very important for the entire Balkan region. Our greenery represents about 25% of the flora of the Balkans and that of Europe.
If it is thought that Kosovo is not a factor to influence the world it will face rising temperatures, and the lack of forests will increase their trend ‘which show that from 1900 until today there have been movements of average annual temperatures with an increasing trend. The average annual temperature for the period 1930-1990 was 8.6 degrees Celsius, for the period 1990-2002 it was 9 degrees Celsius, while for the period 2003-2019, over 10 degrees Celsius.
Short hydropower plants, long pipelines – distort rivers
Kosovo due to its geography may not be directly affected by the Mediterranean response to climate change, but country must consider the issue of forests and water as a big problem. In recent years society has faced public debate that until in 2030, Kosovars will face water shortness. According to all data in the Western Balkans, Kosovo is the poorest country in terms of water resources available with 1,600 cubic meters of water per person and the use of surface water for hydropower plants to reach targets of 25% from renewable sources within of the Energy Treaty Community damages quite a lot the water resources and the areas where the inhabitants live.
The use of water resources is still considered harmful to the environment and society, because hydropower construction companies have not complied with standards and laws. The vast majority are of the type of small hydropower plants that utilize water flow and use long pipelines. Most of the hydropower plants are located mainly in mountainous areas and are located in national parks such as Sharri and the Cursed Mountains.
Kosovo inside the problem, Kosovo outside the Conventions – neither in the UN nor in the EU
So water and forests remain two crucial issues that will continue to affect the environment and the lives of citizens, becoming part of the global climate crisis and rising overall temperatures. Kosovo indirectly has access to the sea through rivers and waters that flow mainly into the Mediterranean. Water challenges are both local and global that will bring problems for state security. Water and Climate Coalition leaders were at COP26 to emphasize the urgency of the water challenges.
Kosovo is not yet a party to the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), but it is part of the EU membership process and indirectly this is what comes out of this Convention. On the other hand, the Progress Report on Kosovo by the European Commission continues to emphasize that Kosovo needs to implement the climate change strategy and action plan for climate change and prepare a roadmap to align with the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans and the climate acquits.
While the country’s forests are being cut down without points of sensitivity and without thinking about tomorrow, the Assembly of Kosovo is also contributing to this situation by not approving the law on forests. Forests remain a major issue in Glasgow as well, with more than 100 world leaders vowing to end deforestation by 2030. Cutting down trees contributes to climate change because it impoverishes forests that absorb large amounts of CO2 heating gas.
Conclusion – suggested solutions
1. Kosovo has a constant shortage and interruption of drinking water. Kosovo does not lack rainfall and rivers, but it does lack water. Because, most of its water and rainfall is not collected but distributed through rivers outside its borders. Kosovo is a small and mountainous country. Its climate is continental. In spring and summer there is enough rainfall and even flooding. But again, water is scarce, and in addition to flood damage, power outages usually occur. So, instead of abundant water benefiting the whole society, the opposite happens. From abundant water to a considerable shortage of drinking water to power outages and possibly droughts, almost extreme, in some cases.
What needs to be done urgently with the waters, first, is, creating mountain reservoirs, in the form of small lakes, which create a slower drainage flow, and have the shape of fountains. These waters can be managed for drinking, agriculture and livestock, as Kosovo is a mountainous country, with prospects for the development of farms and mountain farms. Also, the plant and mountain animal world is present. These must be maintained, and developed, therefore.
2. Forests have been significantly reduced by construction, illegal logging and erosion as a result. Illegal logging of trees for factories and stoves for heating – 90 percent of households use fossils for heating – has reduced forest areas and reduced the number of trees to their extinction. So, not the entire forest area, even so reduced as we see in the statistics where it is stated that it is 45 percent of the whole of Kosovo – is populated with trees and plants.
Forests must be urgently protected by law. By law which the Assembly does not approve since 2019. Whereas, from ‘99 onwards there has been almost no care for forests. Before ‘99, there was an uncontrolled use of forests through organized colonial-exploitative corruption.
3. Enormous lack of water along with uncontrolled and crazy deforestation has affected the inevitable extinction of fields, fertile land and forests. It has affected the increase of temperatures and the gradual change of the weather. Even in Kosovo, plastics, fossils and garbage have become an unmanageable problem. In the cities have already been created daily views with garbage dumps. Also, the back water of the aqueduct is almost polluted.
In the meantime, the only way to generate electricity remains coal. Power plants and coal burning have ranked Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, several times among the most polluted cities, not only in Europe but also in the world.
The continuous disappearance of trees and power plants has not only degraded forests and fields, but we can say that they have already poisoned the air of Kosovo, and have irreversibly affected the health of its inhabitants. Climate change is already a written chapter, where we are also authors but, above all, the protagonist. Climate change is not only environmental but also an issue of health.
The question is not whether we should intervene. The question is whether we can do something, and if so, what we can do, before it becomes impossible to intervene. In the second half of this century we may not have this chance.