Kenya

Overall rating
Almost Sufficient
Policies & action
1.5°C Paris Agreement compatible
< 1.5°C World
Internationally supported target
Critically insufficient
4°C+ World
Fair share target
1.5°C Paris Agreement compatible
< 1.5°C World
Climate finance
Not applicable
Net zero target

Comprehensiveness not rated as

No target
Land use & forestry

historically considered a

Source

Paris Agreement targets

NDC description

In December 2020, Kenya submitted its updated NDC to the UNFCCC, setting a new target of reducing GHG emissions by 32% by 2030, relative to the business as usual (BAU) scenario of 153 MtCO2e including LULUCF (143 MtCO2e using IPCC SAR values). This is a small improvement from the previous target of a 30% reduction below BAU. While the previous NDC target was entirely conditional on international support, Kenya now commits to bear 21% of the mitigation costs, or USD 3.7 billion, itself, although the government notes that its financing needs may change with changing circumstances. We calculate this unconditional contribution to be equivalent to an unconditional target of 7% below BAU, including LULUCF – or 4% below BAU, excluding LULUCF emissions. This corresponds to emissions levels of 126 MtCO2e by 2030 (expressed in AR4 values) (see assumptions below).

In its first NDC, Kenya included a separate target of 47% for the LULUCF sector. While explicit reference to this target has been dropped in the update, we assume that Kenya will meet about half of its NDC with reductions in land sector emissions. Excluding this sector, emissions in 2030 will be slightly lower under the new conditional target, decreasing from 110 to 108 MtCO2e. The new conditional target is equivalent to a 17% reduction below BAU by 2030 (excl. LULUCF).

While we welcome Kenya’s enhanced NDC target, the country could set its sights much higher. In a bottom-up sectoral analysis completed in 2017, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources identified potential emission reductions equivalent to a 60% reduction below BAU by 2030, indicating that Kenya has much greater scope to increase its conditional target. The CAT estimates that this conditional target sits at the top of the country’s emissions trajectory based on current policies and so it is questionable how much real-world action the target will drive.

If Kenya overachieves its NDC target, it plans to make use of voluntary cooperation under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement and sell emission reductions beyond its NDC target.

Kenya’s updated submission does not provide sectoral mitigation targets. Such sectoral targets were developed in the aftermath of submitting the first NDC. We hope that Kenya will adopt a similar approach for the NDC update and develop and release these targets soon. Other implementation plans have not changed significantly compared to the previous NDC.

The updated NDC provides a non-exhaustive list of priority mitigation measures in various sectors. These include increasing the share of renewables in the national energy grid; enhancement of energy efficiency across sectors; achieving a tree cover of at least 10% of Kenya’s land area; and climate smart agriculture. The NDC also outlines that the planning processes for mitigation activities are determined by the country’s Vision 2030 development programme; the National Climate Change Action Plan; and the National Adaptation Plan.

The NDC update provides much more detail on the country’s planning process, including an overview of Kenya’s policy, legal and institutional framework, as its NDC Revision Process, compared to its first NDC. For a more detailed assessment of Kenya’s Climate Governance, see the CAT’s latest Governance assessment here.

The CAT rates Kenya’s internationally supported target as “Critically insufficient” and its fair share target as “1.5°C Paris Agreement-compatible”. The strong difference in the two ratings reflects Kenya’s situation as a country with strong development needs and a small historical responsibility, but with relevant mitigation potential on their own territory, which should be exploited to a large extent with the help of international support.

Internationally supported target:
Critically insufficient

We rate Kenya’s conditional NDC as “Critically insufficient” when compared to modelled domestic pathways. The “Critically insufficient” rating indicates that it reflects minimal to no action and is not at all consistent with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature limit. If all countries were to follow Kenya’s approach, warming would exceed 4°C. Kenya should improve its conditional target and specify support needs to achieve it. Already a small improvement in the target would change the rating to “Highly insufficient”.

Fair share target:
1.5°C Paris Agreement compatible

We rate Kenya’s 2030 NDC target as “1.5°C Paris Agreement compatible” when compared with its fair-share contribution to climate action. The “1.5°C Paris Agreement compatible” rating indicates that Kenya’s fair share target is consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C. Kenya’s fair share target does not require other countries to make comparably deeper reductions or greater effort and is in the most stringent part of its Fair Share range.

Further information on how the CAT rates countries (against modelled pathways and fair share) can be found here.


Last NDC update

Kenya’s updated NDC, submitted in December 2020, has slightly strengthened its 2030 target. Whereas the previous NDC set the target of a 30% emission reduction below business as usual (BAU) levels by 2030, and was fully dependent on international support, Kenya now commits to reducing BAU emissions by 32% by 2030, with part of this new target not conditional on financial support. While the introduction of an unconditional target is welcome, there is still much scope for Kenya to further enhance its target.

Net zero and other long-term target(s)

Kenya does not have a net zero target.

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