Ethiopia’s mitigation efforts are rooted in its “Climate Resilient Green Economy” (CRGE) strategy, published in 2011. This strategy, along with its Paris Agreement Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), is currently under revision. In June 2020, Ethiopia unveiled its first-ever ten-year economic development plan, themed “Ethiopia: An African Beacon of Prosperity.” According to the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the new plan aims to increase economic prosperity, while also building a climate-resilient green economy, though details of the plan are scarce. The CAT rates Ethiopia’s Paris Agreement target as “2˚C compatible,” one of the few countries to earn this rating.
We expect GHG emissions in 2020 will be around 1% lower than in 2019. While a -1.7% GDP growth rate is predicted for Africa in 2020 as a result of COVID-19, Ethiopia is one of only seven countries worldwide expected to maintain GDP growth of more than 3%. Compounding the impacts of COVID-19, Ethiopia is further battling an invasion of desert locusts which, as of April 2020, has driven about one million individuals in Ethiopia into food insecurity. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to the postponement of Ethiopia’s national elections, which were scheduled for August 2020.
The CAT’s current Ethiopian emissions projections are lower in 2030 compared to our previous projections, due to a combination of the pandemic and updated emissions assumptions. Ethiopia could overachieve its NDC in 2030 if it follows the lower bound of the range. However, there is significant uncertainty in how the pandemic will impact Ethiopia’s economy and implementation of climate policies.
Ethiopia’s Paris Agreement target is one of the few that the Climate Action Tracker rates as “2°C compatible.” This rating indicates that Ethiopia’s climate plans are within the range of what is considered to be a fair share of global effort; however, these plans are not yet consistent with the Paris Agreement.
The basis of Ethiopia’s mitigation policy is its “Climate-Resilient Green Economy” (CRGE) strategy which aims to keep greenhouse gas emissions low and build climate resilience, while achieving middle-income status by 2025. The strategy is based on four pillars: reducing agricultural emissions, protecting and expanding forests, expanding renewable electricity generation, and adopting energy efficient technologies in transport, industry and the built environment. Originally published in 2011, the CRGE is under review and will be revised along with the NDC.
In 2010, agriculture was the largest source of emissions, responsible for about half of Ethiopia’s emissions. Under a BAU scenario, agricultural emissions are expected to increase more than any other sector by 2030. A recent progress assessment of the CRGE strategy identified 39 ongoing or completed projects expected to have mitigation benefits in the agriculture/livestock sector.
In May 2019, Ethiopia launched its National Green Development programme, let by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, which included a plan to plant four billion trees in 2019. As part of this effort, Ethiopia claims to have planted more than 350 million trees in a single day, which would be a world record. In 2020, the country aims to plant another five billion trees starting in mid-June, depending on the spread of the coronavirus.
Ethiopia has begun to fill the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Nile, which will be the largest hydro-electric plant on the continent when it is fully operational. However, tensions with neighbouring countries over water supply remain unresolved.
Ethiopia is also part of the World Bank’s Scaling Solar program, and in April 2019, the Ethiopian Ministry of Finance initiated the second round of tenders for up to 750 MW. The first round, for two projects totalling 250 MW, was awarded to Saudi energy developer ACWA Power in September 2019.
Freight and passenger transport are the primary drivers of emissions growth in the transportation sector from 2010 to 2030 under a BAU scenario. The Ethiopian government plans to increase fuel efficiency standards and promote the uptake of hybrid and electric vehicles; construct a renewable energy powered electric rail network; improve public transportation in the capital, Addis Ababa; and increase the use of biofuels.
The government also has a commitment to new electric rail, crucial to reducing emissions in this landlocked country. The Ethiopia-Djibouti electric railway began commercial operations in January 2018, but a second railway has been delayed due to a lack of finance. A new light rail transit system for public transport in Addis Ababa was completed in 2015, but a Bus Rapid Transport system will not be operational before 2021.