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In brief

What is Botswanaʼs pathway to limit global warming to 1.5°C?

Economy wide

To be 1.5°C compatible, the country would need to reduce total GHG emissions to be between 12-15 MtCO₂e/yr by 2030, which is equivalent to a total emissions reduction of between 46-57% relative to 2010 levels, excluding LULUCF.

Botswanaʼs total GHG emissions

excl. LULUCF MtCO₂e/yr

Displayed values
Reference year
Reference year
1.5°C emissions level
  • 1.5°C compatible pathways
  • Middle of the 1.5°C compatible range
  • Current policy projections
  • 1.5°C emissions range
  • Historical emissions

2030 NDC

Botswana’s current NDC targets a 15% reduction in emissions below 2010 levels by 2030.2 The NDC covers energy, waste and agriculture sectors but notably excludes methane emissions from enteric fermentation, which accounted for around 15% of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2015.1 Industry processes, which accounted for roughly around 10% of emissions in 2015 and is projected to grow, is also not covered by Botswana’s NDC.1

1 Ministry of Environment, N. R. C. and T. Botswana’s First Biennial Update Report (BUR) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. (2019).

2 Government of Botswana. Botswana Intended Nationally Determined Contribution. (2016).

3 Government of Botswana. National Development Plan 11. (2017).

4 Ministry of Environment, N. R. C. and T. Botswana’s Third National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. (2019).

5 Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Paris Reality Check: PRIMAP-hist. Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. (2021).

6 BITC Research Department. Investment Opportunities in the Coal Sector: Investor Factsheet. (2016).

7 Benza, B. Botswana’s state-owned coal miner aims to boost output by 35%. Reuters. (2021).

8 International Energy Agency. Botswana: Data Browser. (2021).

9 United Nations Environment Programme. Energy Profile: Botswana.

10 Bungane, B. Botswana grants first ever generation licenses to IPPs. ESI Africa. (2020).

11 Adedoyin, A. et al. Botswana Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventories for Biennial Update Report (BUR). (2016).

12 While global cost-effective pathways assessed by the IPCC Special Report 1.5°C provide useful guidance for an upper-limit of emissions trajectories for developed countries, they underestimate the feasible space for such countries to reach net zero earlier. The current generation of models tend to depend strongly on land-use sinks outside of currently developed countries and include fossil fuel use well beyond the time at which these could be phased out, compared to what is understood from bottom-up approaches. The scientific teams which provide these global pathways constantly improve the technologies represented in their models – and novel CDR technologies are now being included in new studies focused on deep mitigation scenarios meeting the Paris Agreement. A wide assessment database of these new scenarios is not yet available; thus, we rely on available scenarios which focus particularly on BECCS as a net-negative emission technology. Accordingly, we do not yet consider land-sector emissions (LULUCF) and other CDR approaches which developed countries will need to implement in order to counterbalance their remaining emissions and reach net zero GHG are not considered here due to data availability.

13 It should also be noted that there are significant discrepancies between the base year emissions expressed in the NDC and in historical datasets. The NDC indicates 2010 emissions as 8.3 MtCO₂e, while historical datasets puts the value at 27 MtCO₂e. The NDC, however, does not account for significant sources of CH₄ emissions from the agriculture sector, and aims to realise its mitigations from the energy sector exclusively. To this end, we have interpreted the baseline indicated in the NDC as being comparable to the energy sector only, as opposed to being representative of the entire emissions baseline for 2010. The calculations provided in these sections therefore rely upon the baseline emissions indicated in the historical datasets for Botswana, as opposed to the NDC.

Fair share

The implementation of Botswana’s 1.5°C compatible domestic emissions pathway could be made possible with and through international support to close the gap between its fair share level and domestic emissions level. While Botswana’s NDC does not specify the level of reductions requiring financial support and the level of reductions it aims to reach domestically, it states the need for international support.

Long-term strategy

In its NDC, Botswana has indicated that it will develop a long term low-carbon strategy. This has not been elaborated upon since the submission of the NDC in 2016. The country has further integrated climate change considerations into medium- and longer-term national plans, including the NDP (which runs from 2017-2023), and Vision 2036, which is the national agenda that will guide the country’s development plans and activities for the coming years.4

2050 Ambition

Our analysis of 1.5°C compatible pathways indicate that the country would need to emit no more than 10 MtCO₂e/yr by 2050 (excl. LULUCF). This is equivalent to emissions reductions of 62% below 2010 levels by 2050.12

Remaining emissions

According to some scenarios, the energy sector would be the first to decarbonise, and offers the greatest potential in facilitating emissions reductions. Remaining emissions will mostly come from the agriculture sector alongside minor contributions from the waste and industrial processes sectors.



  • Botswana’s power sector relies overwhelmingly on coal: close to 100% of its power generation is made from coal coming mostly from its own domestic production. Botswana is also an exporter of coal to South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia.
  • Such plans put the country at risk of significant carbon lock-in and subsequent high-value stranded assets in the power sector.
  • Analysed 1.5°C compatible pathways show that Botswana should fully phase out coal from its energy mix by 2030 in some models and by 2040 at the latest.
  • Our analysis show that renewables could reach 72-99% of the power mix by 2040, and 99-100% by 2050. High uptake of renewable energy could also help facilitate the transition from traditional biofuels to electrification, especially in rural areas.1
  • A 1.5°C compatible grid carbon intensity would need to reach full decarbonisation by 2040, and this would require a reduction of carbon intensity of between 73-114% relative to 2017 levels by 2030. The reduction is achievable through an uptake of renewable energy and carbon dioxide removal approaches such as land sinks or bioenergy with carbon capture and storage. This stands in contrast with Botswana’s current explicit goal of renewable energy contributing only 14.28% of the national power mix by 2025, which is 5 years before fossil fuel utilisation should be halved.3
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