Policies & action
The CAT rates Ethiopia’s policies and action as “1.5°C compatible” when compared to its fair share contribution. The “1.5°C 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 unconditional and conditional NDC targets if current policies are fully implemented, indicating there is room for Ethiopia to increase its target ambition.
While Ethiopia rates well when compared to what its fair share contribution is, its policies and action are "Critically insufficient" when compared with what modelled domestic pathways based on global least cost pathways say should be occurring within its borders. This rating is based on our upper bound estimate of Ethiopia’s current policies derived from the updated NDC’s business-as-usual scenario for which we do not know which policies it includes. 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.
Since the end of 2020, Ethiopia has been engaged in a civil war between the Tigray People’s Liberation Front and the federal government under Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (United Nations Security Council, 2021). On 2 November 2022, the federal government and the TPLF signed a peace deal to end hostilities (UN News, 2022). The conflict has left hundreds of thousands of people dead and has driven a humanitarian crisis exacerbated by international energy and food shortages and restrictions on humanitarian aid. The conflict has led to the most severe starvation crisis in the world, with famine affecting an estimated 900,000 Ethiopians and 1.8 million on the brink (Council on Foreign Relations, 2022). The deal agrees to restore services to the Tigray region and allow unrestricted access for aid agencies (NPR, 2022)
Climate policy has advanced little since our last update, unsurprising given the current political climate. Prior to the outbreak of the war, Ethiopia had been making headway, working on updating its 2011 Climate-Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) strategy and long-term strategy. The status of the CRGE update is unclear, but the Ethiopian government has engaged in further work to progress the long-term strategy (GGGI, 2022).
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, which should take into consideration Ethiopia’s updated NDC.
In June 2020, Ethiopia released its Ten Year Development Plan: A Pathway to Prosperity (2021-2030) (Planning and Development Commission, 2021). The new plan aims to bring economic growth, expecting 10.2% annual growth, while also supporting a climate-resilient green economy (Ethiopian Monitor, 2020b). The plan includes quantified targets to increase Ethiopia’s so-called greenhouse gas emissions reduction capacity from 92.7 MtCO2e to 162.3 MtCO2e by 2030. However, it is unclear if this is referring to emissions mitigation potential and if so, how it relates to the mitigation potentials presented in the updated NDC. The plan further includes similar emission reduction targets for agricultural subsectors and for transport and targets to increase electricity generation and access.
Under current policy projections, GHG emissions in Ethiopia are expected to be 213–240 MtCO2e in 2030 (excluding land-use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF)). Emissions are higher than our last update. The increase is largely driven by an upward revision of historical emissions in 2016-2018 and the likely limited long-term impact of the pandemic. There is a high degree of uncertainty in these projections, given the limited data and policy information available for Ethiopia. We have also not attempted to estimate any impact the civil war may have on emissions.
In Glasgow, a number of sectoral initiatives were launched to accelerate climate action. At most, these initiatives may close the 2030 emissions gap by around 9% - or 2.2 GtCO2e, though assessing what is new and what is already covered by existing NDC targets is challenging.
For methane, signatories agreed to cut emissions in all sectors by 30% globally over the next decade. The coal exit initiative seeks to transition away from unabated coal power by the 2030s or 2040s and to cease building new coal plants. Signatories of the 100% EVs declaration agreed that 100% of new car and van sales in 2040 should be electric vehicles, 2035 for leading markets. On forests, leaders agreed “to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030”. The Beyond Oil & Gas Alliance (BOGA) seeks to facilitate a managed phase out of oil and gas production.
NDCs should be updated to include these sectoral initiatives, if they aren’t already covered by existing NDC targets. As with all targets, implementation of the necessary policies and measures is critical to ensuring that these sectoral objectives are actually achieved.
|Signed?||Included in NDC?||Taking action to achieve?|
|Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance||No||N/A||N/A|
Ethiopia’s primary energy supply is dominated by biomass, as only about half of the population has access to electricity and less than 10% has access to clean cooking (IRENA, 2022b). Oil has the next largest share of the energy mix at 10%, followed by hydropower (3%) and coal (1%) used in the industry sector (IEA, 2021). Ethiopia relies on oil imports, with minimal domestic production.
Ethiopia’s power grid is almost entirely decarbonised, with the majority of electricity generated by hydropower and a growing share of wind power.
For the period 2015 to 2020, Ethiopia aimed to increase power generating capacity from 4 GW in 2015 to 17 GW by 2020, with hydropower accounting for over 13 GW by 2020 (Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, 2016). According to available data, Ethiopia has not met these targets, with about 4 GW of installed hydropower generation capacity in 2021 (IRENA, 2022a).
In the new 10-year plan, the government aims to increase export of electricity, which will require investments in an extensive distribution grid. Meeting this goal hinges on new hydropower projects, including the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) of 6 GW installed capacity and the Koysha dam of 2 GW installed capacity (Mpofu, 2021). In mid-June 2022, it was reported construction of the GERD was 88% complete and expected to be finished in 2023 (Ahmed Gomaa, 2022). The Gulf Cooperation Council Interconnection Agency (GCCIA) is also 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).
Hydropower projects, however, have faced delays, largely attributed to concerns over their sustainability, 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 its targets. 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).
Other renewable generation
Ethiopia is participating in the Scaling-Up Renewable Energy Program (SREP) funded by the Climate Investment Funds (Climate Investment Funds, 2020). Under the SREP, the 200 MW geothermal Aluto Langano project and 120 MW Assela project, under construction, have received funding along with a clean energy small and medium enterprise facility (Construction Review Online, 2021; IEA, 2022b).
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). However, many of these projects have also faced delays, with projects struggling to reach financial close (Ayele & Shen, 2022). While several challenges have been identified, one of the key challenges include foreign currency and convertibility barriers.
Agriculture GHG emissions are responsible for about three-quarters of Ethiopia’s emissions (excl. LULUCF). Emissions from agriculture are expected increase more than any other sector under Ethiopia’s updated business as usual scenario (Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, 2021). A 2020 progress assessment of the CRGE Strategy identified 39 ongoing or completed projects expected to have mitigation benefits in the agriculture/livestock sector (Pegasys, 2020).
Livestock is the single largest source of emissions in Ethiopia (excl. LULUCF) (Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, 2021). Ethiopia has projects underway to reduce methane emissions from livestock including a project for the low emission development for the dairy sector with the Climate and Clean Air Coalition.
The latest available inventory data, from Ethiopia’s Second National Communication, indicates the transport sector accounted for 4% of national emissions in 2013; however, the updated NDC revised total energy emissions downward (Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, 2021; Ministry of Environment and Forest, 2015).
The Ten Year Development Plan includes targets for the transport sector including increased rail infrastructure and utilisation and the reduction of transport emissions. However, the plan also aims to increase domestic and international flight passengers (Planning and Development Commission, 2021). In 2020, the government adopted a National Transport Policy which aims to increase rail and expand transport options that operate on renewable energy (Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, 2020). The updated NDC aims to reduce transport emissions through transport electrification and public transport (Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, 2021).
Ethiopia’s updated NDC aims to electrify transportation, reducing demand for petroleum and increasing the share of electric vehicles. According to the CRGE strategy, the building of an electric railway network such as the 5,000 km electrified National Railway Network (NRN) has the greatest mitigation potential for the sector of the assessed interventions (FDRE, 2011). One segment of the NRN, the Ethiopia-Djibouti electric railway line, began commercial operations in January 2018 financed by the Export-Import Bank of China (Xinhua, 2018). As a landlocked country, the Ethiopia-Djibouti line is critical to shifting road transportation to rail as it connects Ethiopia to the Port of Doraleh. A second railway line, previously delayed due to a lack of finance, had been damaged in the civil war (Abiye, 2019; Ethiopia Observer, 2021). The Ten Year Development Plan aims to increase the length of railway from about 900 km to almost 4,200 km, but it does not specify how much of this would be electric (Planning and Development Commission, 2021).
The updated NDC also aims to improve public transportation. Significant projects are underway in the capital, Addis Ababa, through the construction of a light rail transit (LRT) and a bus rapid transit (BRT). The LRT was completed in 2015 with support of the Export-Import Bank of China (Xinhua, 2019). The Ten Year Development Plan further aims to increase the capacity of the LRT from 75,000 to 200,000 passengers per day (Planning and Development Commission, 2021). The construction of the BRT started in 2020 with support from the French Development Agency (AFD), South Korea and the city itself (Ethiopian Monitor, 2020a; Fikade, 2018; Gebre, 2019). The BRT is not yet operational as of August 2022.
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 and to have reached the a total of four billion planted trees and seedlings by year’s end, though some have questioned the veracity of these figures provided by the government (BBC News, 2019, 2020; Mwai, 2019; National Green Development, 2020; Office of the Prime Minister, 2019). In 2020, the government aimed to plant another five billion trees that year and in 2021, the annual goal was six billion(Ethiopian Monitor, 2021; Getachew, 2020). Government reporting claims both goals were exceeded. The fourth round of tree-planting was launched in June 2022 with the goal of planting another six billion trees (Ethiopian Monitor, 2022).