Kazakhstan has proposed average annual emissions to be 90% of 1990 levels during the period of 2013–2020, subject to availability of carry-over surplus from the first commitment period and other conditions. Given the complex set of decisions at COP 18 in Doha, it is unclear if the country will ratify this target. Its Copenhagen pledge is to reduce emissions by 15% below 1990 by 2020, which allows emissions to increase strongly from the 2012 level and is rated “medium”.
Currently implemented policies are not ambitious enough to achieve the proposed targets. After hitting the floor in 1999 at 146 MtCO2e (60% below 1990 levels), emissions have been on a constant steep increase and are projected to follow this trend until 2030.
Under the Copenhagen Accord, Kazakhstan proposed to reduce emissions by 15% in 2020 below 1990 levels. Kazakhstan has also proposed a 2050 target of 25% reduction relative to 1992 levels.
In November 2012, Kazakhstan submitted a provisional QELRO  (Quantified Emission Limitation or Reduction Objective) level of 90 for the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. This means that Kazakhstan’s average annual emissions during the period of 2013–2020 are proposed to be 10% below 1990 levels. Kazakhstan’s intention to undertake this QELRO is conditional to carry-over of full surplus from the first commitment period, environmental integrity of the Kyoto Protocol, access to mechanisms for both periods and on a mid-term 2013–2015 review to increase the level of ambition in terms of emissions reductions among others. It also requires the 2015 agreement to include participation of all parties with adequate commitments.
The Doha Amendment limited targets for the second commitment period to the average historic emissions 2008–2010 . This affects Kazakhstan and leads to a Kyoto pathway almost 59 MtCO2e/yr lower than the direct translation of their target for the period 2012–2020.
Kazakhstan has been included in Annex B of the Kyoto Protocol for the first commitment period. It proposed an amendment to Annex B of the Kyoto Protocol for the first commitment period and a target of 0% below 1992 emissions.
We rate Kazakhstan’s Copenhagen pledge for 2020 “medium”. The pledge is in line with effort sharing approaches that focus on capability and a combination of responsibility, capability and needs. To reach a fair share according to approaches that focus on equality and equal cumulative per capita emissions, more stringent emission reductions would be needed. Kazakhstan’s longer-term target also falls within the “medium” range.
Due to the inclusion of more effort sharing approaches, the “sufficient” and “medium” range for Kazakhstan has widened compared to the assessments in previous years. As a result of this we changed the rating for Kazakhstan from “inadequate” to “medium”, even though there has been no change in the pledged emission level for 2020.
Currently implemented policies are expected to increase GHG emissions (excl. LULUCF) in Kazakhstan to 355–361 MtCO2e by 2020 and 443–491 MtCO2e by 2030. The 2020 emissions level is comparable with 1990, but a 24–37% increase from the 1990 level is foreseen by 2030. Kazakhstan’s main policies are highlighted in the table.
Historic emissions excluding LULUCF saw a steep decline after 1990, with the lowest levels being reached in 1999 at 146 MtCO2e, only 41% of the 1990 level. Since then, emissions have grown rapidly, with only a small impact from the financial crisis 2008/09. The energy and industry sectors are the main drivers of this growth.
In May 2013, Kazakhstan adopted its Concept for Kazakhstan’s Transition to Green Economy. The Concept repeats targets included in the Kazakhstan 2050 Strategy (2012) including, amongst others, providing 50% of total energy supply by alternative and renewable energy sources (including nuclear) and decreasing energy intensity of GDP by 25% by 2020 compared to a 2008 baseline (Republic of Kazakhstan, 2013).
In August 2013, Kazakhstan adopted a feed-in tariff law “On Supporting the Use of Renewable Energy Sources.” The feed-in tariff scheme is targeted at an increase in renewable electricity generation in line with the targets from the Concept of supplying 3% of electricity by wind and solar in 2020. The tariffs were set in June 2014.
Through an amendment of the 2007 ‘Ecological Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan’, the Kazakh emissions trading scheme (ETS) was enacted in 2011. A one-year pilot phase, covering 55% of total greenhouse gas emissions, took place in 2013. The cap for the ETS in 2013 was 147 MtCO2e plus a 20.6 MtCO2e reserve for new entrants.
The second phase started in January 2014. During the phase II (2014-2015) and phase III (2016-2020) the cap will decrease linearly to the 2020 target. During phase I allowances were allocated for free based on 2010 emissions. During phase II emissions are allocated based on verified emissions from 2011 and 2012 for 2014, and based on verified emissions from 2013 for 2015. From the start of phase II in 2016, auctioning and benchmarking might be introduced (ICAP, 2014; EDF & IETA, 2013).
Targets for 2020 and 2050 were calculated from the most recent national inventory submissions (CRF, 2014).
The Kyoto pledge is calculated based on the official documentation provided by the UNFCCC based on Party submissions (Republic of Kazakhstan, 2012a; Republic of Kazakhstan, 2012b). We calculated Kazakhstan’s LULUCF accounting quantities in 2020 for afforestation, reforestation and deforestation using the current Kyoto rules. Forest management was calculated also with current Kyoto rules, with the cap set at 3% of base year or 15% of forest management, whichever is lower.
Current policy projections
Historic data are based on most recent national inventory submissions (CRF, 2014). The upper end of the current policy projection is based on the ‘with measures’ scenario from Kazakhstan’s Third-Sixth National Communication (2013b)’. Emission reductions due to the implementation of the feed-in tariff scheme for wind and solar energy were subtracted from this scenario. The lower end of the projections is based on a report prepared in 2011 by NERA and Bloomberg for the EBRD "The Demand for Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Investments: An Investors’ Marginal Abatement Cost Curve for Kazakhstan (NERA Economic Consulting and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), 2011). Growth rates from the ‘Planned Policies’ Scenario were applied to the most recent historic data. The planned policies included in this scenario, including the feed-in tariff scheme, have currently been implemented.
CRF (2014). UNFCCC AWG-KP Submissions 2014. Common Reporting Format.
EDF & IETA (2013). Kazakhstan. The World’s Carbon Markets: A Case Study Guide to Emissions Trading.
ICAP (2014). Kazakhstan Emissions Trading Scheme (KAZ ETS).
Republic of Kazakhstan (2013a). Concept for transition of the Republic of Kazakhstan to Green Economy.
Republic of Kazakhstan (2013b). Third-Sixth National Communication of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Republic of Kazakhstan (2012a). Information by Parties included in Annex I listed in annex 1 to decision 1/CMP.7 on their quantified emission limitation or reduction objectives for the second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol.
Republic of Kazakhstan (2012b). Submission to the Ad-Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP): Information by Parties included in Annex I listed in annex 1 to decision 1/CMP.7 on their quantified emission limitation or reduction objectives for the second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, 2 May 2012
Republic of Kazahkstan (2010). Kazakhstan's pledge to the Copenhagen Accord. Compiled in: Compilation of economy-wide emission reduction targets to be implemented by Parties included in Annex I to the Convention, UNFCCC (2011).
NERA Economic Consulting and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) (2011). The Demand for Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Investments: An Investors’ Marginal Abatement Cost Curve for Kazakhstan, Prepared for EBRD, October 2011, London.
 The QELRO, expressed as a percentage in relation to a base year, denotes the average level of emissions that an Annex B Party could emit on an annual basis during a given commitment period.
 This is part of the Doha decisions and constitutes part of the amendments to the Kyoto Protocol. Amendments only come into effect once they are ratified by Parties.