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Botswana 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 10-13 MtCO₂e/yr by 2030, which is equivalent to a total emissions reduction of between 47-57% 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 Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism. 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 Ministry of Environment Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism. Botswana’s Third National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. (2019).

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

5 International Energy Agency. Botswana: Data Browser. International Energy Agency. (2022).

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

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

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

9 United Nations Environment Programme. Energy Profile: Botswana.

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

11 Dabla, N., Zeyi, B., Wanjiru, E. N., Fichaux, N. & Mabowe, B. Renewables Readiness Assessment: Botswana. (2021).

12 Ministry of Mineral Resources, G. T. and E. S. National Energy Policy. (2021).

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

14 African Development Bank Group. Botswana – Botswana Renewable Energy Support Project – Project Appraisal Report. African Development Bank Group. (2022).

15 Government of the Republic of Botswana. Integrated Resource Plan for Electricity for Botswana. (2020).

16 Benza, B. India’s Jindal plans to start building Botswana coal mine in 2022. Reuters. (2021).

17 Benza, B. Botswana plans $2.5 bln coal-to-liquids plant to cut fuel imports. Reuters (2022).

18 Ministry of Transport and Communications. National Integrated Transport Policy – White Paper. (2011).-

19 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.

20 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.3

2050 Ambition

Our analysis of 1.5°C compatible pathways indicate that the country would need to emit no more than 7 MtCO₂e/yr by 2050 (excl. LULUCF). This is equivalent to emissions reductions of 69% below 2010 levels by 2050.19

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.
  • 1.5°C compatible pathways indicate that the country will need to rapidly and extensively reduce its reliance on coal from almost 100% in 2019 to being fully phased out of Botswana’s power sector by around 2030. Carbon intensity would need to drop from 1260 gCO₂/kWh in 2019 to between 210-450 gCO₂/kWh by 2030, and be at zero by 2040 at the latest.
  • Our analysis shows that the share of renewable energy in the power sector would also need to increase rapidly, from close to 0% in 2019 to 43-69% in 2030. By 2050, renewable energy should contribute 99-100% of the power share. This could be facilitated by the introduction of sustainable biomass energy, which, depending on the scenario, could contribute up to 50% of the power mix between 2030-2040.
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  • Direct CO₂ emissions from the buildings sector have remained relatively low and stable, and amounted to around 0.1 MtCO₂ in 2019. The majority of the sector’s energy mix (around 70%) was sourced from solid biomass in 2019, followed by electricity (around 26%), and oil (around 4%).
  • To align with 1.5°C compatible pathways, Botswana would need to speed up the electrification of the buildings sector. The share of electricity would need to rise from 26% in 2019 to 63-80% in 2030, and 96-97% in 2050.
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  • The industry sector’s share of total final energy consumption in Botswana has been declining over the past decade, from 23.6% of total final consumption in 2009 to 15.4% in 2019. However, emissions from industrial processing have continued to grow steadily.3
  • To be aligned with 1.5°C compatible pathways, Botswana’s industry sector would need to decarbonise between 2039-2048, with direct CO₂ emissions reducing from 1 MtCO₂e in 2019 to 0 MtCO₂e by 2050 at the latest. This decline would be primarily driven by an increase in the share of electricity in the sector’s energy supply from 29% in 2019 to 74-75% by 2050.
  • Botswana’s planned and ongoing investments in coal and fossil gas, especially in comparison to the significantly lower planned addition of renewable energy capacity, could extend the industry sector’s reliance on fossil fuels, thus hampering the sector’s decarbonisation trajectory and consistency with 1.5°C pathways.
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  • The transport sector has the highest share of total final consumption of energy in Botswana (around 45% in 2019), and was responsible for about 2.379 MtCO₂e, or 7.7% of Botswana’s total emissions in 2015.5
  • To align with 1.5°C compatible pathways, Botswana would need to reduce direct annual CO₂ emissions from the transport sector from 2 MtCO₂ in 2019 to 1 MtCO₂ by 2040, and fully decarbonise the sector by around 2047-2050. This can be achieved through a rapid electrification, with the share of electricity growing from 0% in 2019 to 25-42% by 2050. Hydrogen and biofuels could also play a role in the decarbonisation of the sector.
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