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Kazakhstan’s plans to expand coal and oil production both deepen and continue its dependence on fossil fuels, and fail to take steps towards achieving a Paris Agreement-compatible emissions pathway.
The renewable energy targets of 3% by 2020, 10% by 2030 and 50% by 2050 need to be considerably strengthened to match Kazakhstan’s stated recognition of the need to transition into a greener future. Prioritising the modernisation of existing coal plants, as well as planning to replace some coal capacity with natural gas is short-sighted, considering that gas is not a long-term solution for the deep decarbonisation needed to keep warming to 1.5˚C. Current policy projections remain “Highly Insufficient” and are projected to miss Kazakhstan’s “Insufficient” Paris Agreement target by a wide margin. On a more positive note, the Kazakhstan ETS resumed operation in 2018 after a one year hiatus.
Kazakhstan’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) contains an unconditional target to reduce GHG emissions by 15% below 1990 levels by 2030, including emissions from land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF). If emissions from the LULUCF sector are excluded, this target is equivalent to emissions reduction by 17-18% below 1990. Based on this unconditional NDC target, we rate Kazakhstan “Insufficient.”
Its currently implemented policies would lead to emissions of 324 MtCO2e by 2020 (a 11% reduction below 1990 levels) and 362 MtCO2e by 2030 (a 3% reduction below 1990 levels). Currently implemented policies are far from sufficient to meet its targets—if the CAT were to rate Kazakhstan’s projected emissions levels under current policies for 2030, Kazakhstan would be rated “Highly insufficient”.
The “Insufficient” rating indicates that Kazakhstan’s climate plans are not consistent with holding warming to below 2°C, let alone limiting it to 1.5°C as required under the Paris Agreement, and is instead consistent with warming between 2°C and 3°C.
In addition, Kazakhstan has a conditional target of reducing emissions (including LULUCF) by 25% below 1990 levels by 2030 (equivalent to 25% below 1990 levels excluding LULUCF by 2030). This target is subject to “additional international investments, access to low carbon technologies transfer mechanism, green climate funds and flexible mechanism for country with economy in transition” (Republic of Kazakhstan, 2016a).