Kazakhstan has made strides in its climate policies, such as updating the Environmental Code, re-introducing the Emissions Trading Scheme, and increasing its 2030 renewables target. However, projected emissions under current policies are not yet in line with its climate targets, nor a Paris-compatible pathway and Kazakhstan is one of the few countries that has not updated its NDC since 2016. We rate Kazakhstan’s policies and targets as “Insufficient”.
Kazakhstan achieved its 2020 target of 3% renewable electricity generation and subsequently raised its 2030 target from 10% to 15%. However, coal will remain Kazakhstan’s predominant energy source past 2030, oil production is expected to increase by 15.8% by 2025, and much of Kazakhstan’s efforts are still focused on gasification.
Prioritising the modernisation of existing coal plants, increasing fossil fuel exploration, as well as planning to replace some coal capacity with fossil gas, is short-sighted, considering that neither coal nor gas are solutions for the deep decarbonisation needed to keep warming to 1.5°C.
Kazakhstan has yet to update its NDC target from the initial 2016 submission. We rate Kazakhstan’s conditional NDC target of 25% below 1990 levels by 2030 against modelled domestic pathways as “Almost sufficient”, while its unconditional target of 15% below 1990 levels by 2030 rated against its fair share is “Insufficient”. We estimate that to be consistent with a 1.5°C pathway, Kazakhstan needs to reduce emissions by 31–43% below 1990 levels by 2030.
At the UN Climate Ambition Summit in December 2020, Kazakhstan announced its intention to reach carbon neutrality by 2060. In 2021, the government released the Doctrine (Strategy) of Achieving Carbon Neutrality Until 2060, presenting a potential carbon neutrality pathway with sectoral decarbonisation plans. Kazakhstan is currently preparing its Long-Term Strategy to be submitted to the UNFCCC. We rate the comprehensiveness of the carbon neutrality target as “Poor”.
The CAT rates Kazakhstan’s climate targets and policies as “Insufficient”. The “Insufficient” rating indicates that Kazakhstan’s climate policies and commitments need substantial improvements to be consistent with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature limit. Kazakhstan’s emissions reduction target is rated as “Almost sufficient” when compared to modelled emissions pathways, and “Insufficient” when compared with its fair-share contribution to climate action. To achieve its target, Kazakhstan would need to enhance its policies and action.
We rate Kazakhstan’s policies and action as “Insufficient” when compared to its fair-share contribution. The “Insufficient” rating indicates that Kazakhstan’s climate policies and action in 2030 need substantial improvements to be consistent with the 1.5°C temperature limit. If all countries were to follow Kazakhstan’s approach, warming would reach over 2°C and up to 3°C. Kazakhstan’s policies are further off track when compared with modelled domestic pathways and needs to implement more stringent policies, for which it will need additional support.
Kazakhstan achieved its renewable electricity generation target of 3% by 2020. In response, the government increased its 2030 target from 10% to 15%. Over 80% of Kazakhstan’s total GHG emissions are from the energy sector. While the CAT welcomes Kazakhstan’s increase in ambition, it is likely that a higher share of renewables will be required in 2030 for Kazakhstan to meet emissions reductions in line with the Paris Agreement. To keep the window open for a 1.5°C GHG emissions pathway, coal power generation should be phased out globally by 2040 at the latest (Climate Analytics, 2019).
Kazakhstan’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) resumed operation in 2018 after a one-year hiatus. However, the extent of emissions reductions to date has been minimal due to high numbers of free quotas and generous benchmarks. The current Phase 5 of the ETS runs from 2022–2025. It includes a cap of 537.2 MtCO2 for the same period, targeting emissions from 199 installations that belong to 128 companies. The carbon price under the ETS is 1.10 USD/tCO2. While the new phase plans to decrease free quotas by 26% until 2025, benchmark coefficients will likely remain the same. It is unclear whether the new allocation plan will achieve better results in reducing emissions.
We rate the conditional NDC target as “Almost sufficient” when compared to modelled emissions pathways. The “Almost sufficient” rating indicates that Kazakhstan’s conditional NDC target in 2030 is not yet consistent with the 1.5°C temperature limit but could be, with moderate improvements. If all countries were to follow Kazakhstan’s approach, warming could be held below—but not well below—2°C.
We rate the unconditional NDC target as “Insufficient” when compared with its fair-share contribution to climate action. The “Insufficient” rating indicates that Kazakhstan’s unconditional NDC target in 2030 needs substantial improvements to be consistent with the 1.5°C temperature limit when compared to its fair share. This means Kazakhstan’s climate commitment is at the least stringent end of what would be a fair share of global effort and is not consistent with the 1.5°C limit, unless other countries make much deeper reductions and comparably greater effort. If all countries were to follow Kazakhstan’s approach, warming would reach over 2°C and up to 3°C.
Kazakhstan first announced its intention to reach “carbon neutrality” by 2060 during the Climate Ambition Summit in December 2020. Kazakhstan released its Doctrine (Strategy) of Achieving Carbon Neutrality Until 2060 as a policy document in September 2021, presenting a potential carbon neutrality pathway with sectoral decarbonisation plans. Kazakhstan has not submitted the strategy as an official long-term strategy (LTS) to the UNFCCC as of September 2022.
There is still significant scope for Kazakhstan to improve the transparency, target architecture, and scope of its carbon neutrality target. We evaluate the net zero target as: “Poor”.
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