Policies & action
The CAT rates Ethiopia’s policies and action as “1.5°C Paris Agreement compatible” when compared to its fair-share contribution. The “1.5°C Paris Agreement compatible” rating indicates that Ethiopia’s climate policies and action are consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C. Ethiopia’s climate policies and action do not require other countries to make comparably deeper reductions.
Ethiopia will achieve both its unconditional and conditional targets if current policies are fully implemented.
While Ethiopia rates well when compared to what its fair share contribution is, its policies and action are not sufficient when compared with what modelled domestic pathways based on global least cost pathways say should be occurring within its borders. From this perspective, Ethiopia needs to implement more stringent policies and it will need additional support to do so. Such action would be bolstered by adopting a stronger conditional target.
The assessment below is based on our assessment from 30 July 2020. We have updated our current policy emissions projections to take into consideration the revised historical emissions data and revised BAU provided in the final NDC update from July 2021 as well as updated GDP data for the impacts of the pandemics (see the Assumptions section for full details); however, we have not undertaken a new policy analysis.
The basis of Ethiopia’s mitigation policy is its Climate-Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) strategy, published in 2011 (FDRE, 2011). As the name suggests, the strategy aims to keep greenhouse gas emissions low and build climate resilience, while achieving middle-income status by 2025. Ethiopia is currently reviewing progress and updating the CRGE strategy as well as their NDC. In lieu of another five-year development plan, Ethiopia released its first-ever ten-year economic development plan in June 2020. The new plan aims to bring economic growth, expecting 10.2% annual growth, while also supporting a climate-resilient green economy (Ethiopian Monitor, 2020). The Planning and Development Commission undertook public consultations on the plan in June/July 2020; however, a copy of the plan has not yet been released online (PDC, 2020).
Under current policy projections, without the expected impact of COVID-19, GHG emissions in Ethiopia are expected to be 208–235 MtCO2e in 2030 (excluding land-use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF)). Taking into account reduced economic activity due to COVID-19, and based on new GDP projections, GHG emissions in Ethiopia are expected to dip slightly and rebound to 185-197 MtCO2e (excluding LULUCF) in 2030.
Ethiopia is participating in the Scaling-Up Renewable Energy Program (SREP) funded by the Climate Investment Funds (Climate Investment Funds, n.d.). The SREP investment plan for Ethiopia, adopted in 2012, aims to support the energy sector objectives of the country’s First Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP I). The GTP I set energy goals for the period 2010 to 2015, including the expansion of generating capacity, particularly renewable technologies, and transmission and distribution infrastructure (Ministry of Water and Energy, 2012).
Following the GTP I, the Second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II) set twelve major targets for the energy sector for the period 2015 to 2020. Primarily, it aims to increase power generating capacity from 4 GW in 2015 to 17 GW by 2020, with hydropower accounting for over 13 GW. It further plans to increase electricity coverage from 60% in 2015 to 90% by 2020 (Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, 2016). With the GTP II period ending in 2020, the plan is expected to be replaced with a new ten-year development plan, released for public consultation in June 2020. The government also plans to become an exporter of electricity and a green hub in East Africa in the near future, which will require investments in an extensive distribution grid. The Gulf Cooperation Council Interconnection Agency (GCCIA) is evaluating the feasibility of an electricity link with Ethiopia to import hydropower, in an attempt to reduce reliance on oil and gas for power generation (Darby, 2018).
Meeting these goals hinges on new hydropower projects, including the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance, the Gilgel Gibe III and the Gilgel Gibe IV dams, with an estimated total capacity of 9.4 GW (IEA, 2014). The Gilgel Gibe III dam was completed in 2016 and will contribute to Ethiopia’s power production with 1.8 GW once running at full capacity (The Economist, 2016). Next to Gibe III, Ethiopia is building the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam which will be more than thrice its size (Whittington, 2016). As of 2019, only 4.45 GW of renewable capacity had actually been installed, with hydropower capacity accounting for 3.8 GW (IRENA, 2020). Failure to meet the targets of planned renewables capacity extension defined in the GTP has been mainly caused by delays in construction plans for major hydropower projects.
These delays can be attributed to concerns over the sustainability of the dams, and their effect on downstream riparian states such as Egypt. There is significant disagreement between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia over the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (Al Jazeera, 2020). Reaching a permanent legal or institutional framework accepted by the affected states, which addresses the negative environmental effects will be pivotal for Ethiopia to meet the targets of the GTP. Such an agreement has not yet been reached, while Ethiopia began to fill the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Nile in June 2020 (Zane, 2020a, 2020b).
Ethiopia is also part of the World Bank’s Scaling Solar program (World Bank, 2019). In April 2019, the Ethiopian Ministry of Finance initiated the second round of tenders for up to 750 MW. In the first round, two projects totalling 250 MW were both awarded to Saudi energy developer AWCA in September 2019. The projects are the first to be developed under Ethiopia’s new public-private partnership framework and are expected to avoid 0.32 MtCO2e per year (ACWA Power, 2019).
In 2018, GHG emissions from agriculture were responsible for about 110 MtCO2e, or about 75% of Ethiopia’s emissions (excl. LULUCF). Emissions from agriculture are expected increase more than any other sector under Ethiopia’s updated BAU scenario (Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, 2021). A recent progress assessment of the CRGE identified 39 ongoing or completed projects expected to have mitigation benefits in the agriculture/livestock (Pegasys, 2020).
Livestock was the single largest source of emissions in Ethiopia (excl. LULUCF) (Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, 2021). Under the CRGE, four initiatives were selected to be fast tracked, including reducing emissions from livestock and establishing a mechanism to monetise these reductions.
The cultivation of crops contributed another 12 MtCO2e in 2010 from the use of fertilisers and N2O emitted from crop residues. To address these emissions, the government aims to introduce lower-emitting agricultural practices, as well as increase production on existing agricultural lands and capture new agricultural lands through irrigation to avoid the conversion of forests (FDRE, 2011).
GHG emissions in Ethiopia’s transportation sector are projected to grow from 2010 to 2030 under a business as usual scenario (FDRE, 2011). The primary drivers of this increase are freight and passenger transport. The CRGE Strategy estimated that the sector has an abatement potential of up to 12.2 MtCO2e in 2030 (FDRE, 2011). 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.
Building an electric railway network has the greatest mitigation potential within the transportation sector of the interventions assessed by the CRGE. The planned National Railway Network (NRN), consisting of 5,000km of electric rail, could reduce 8.9 MtCO2 per year by 2030. One segment of the NRN, the Ethiopia-Djibouti electric railway line, began commercial operations in January 2018 (Xinhua, 2018). It was financed by the Export-Import Bank of China. As a landlocked country, the Ethiopia-Djibouti line is critical to shifting road transportation to rail as it connects Ethiopia to a major port. The completion of a second railway line has been delayed due to a lack of finance (Abiye, 2019).
Improving public transportation in the capital, Addis Ababa, through the construction of a light rail transit (LRT) and a bus rapid transit (BRT), was identified in the CRGE as another abatement opportunity. The two transit systems would have an annual abatement potential of 0.1 and 0.04 MtCO2e respectively in 2030 based on a 2015 completion date (FDRE, 2011). The LRT was completed in 2015, also with support of the Export-Import Bank of China (Xinhua, 2019). However, the BRT, which has received support from the French Development Agency (AFD), South Korea and the city itself, is unlikely to be operational before 2021 (Fikade, 2018; Gebre, 2019).
Ethiopia anticipates meeting much of its updated NDC through reductions in emissions from the forestry sector (Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, 2021).
In May 2019, Ethiopia launched its National Green Development programme, led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, which included a plan to plant four billion trees in 2019 (Embassy of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia, 2020). As part of this effort, Ethiopia claims to have planted more than 350 million trees in a single day, possibly a world record, and to have reached the four billion figure (both planted and seedlings) by year’s end, though some have questioned the veracity of these figures (BBC News, 2019, 2020; Mwai, 2019; National Green Development, n.d.; Office of the Prime Minister, 2019). In 2020, the country aims to plant another five billion trees starting in mid-June, depending on the spread of the coronavirus (Getachew, 2020).