The level of ambition required for a 1.5°C compatible NDC domestic action target is 178 MtCO₂e/yr (excluding LULUCF) by 2030, equivalent to 54% below 1990 levels.
Kazakhstanʼs total GHG emissions
excl. LULUCF MtCO₂e/yr
- 1.5°C compatible pathways
- Middle of the 1.5°C compatible range
- Current policy projections
- 1.5°C emissions range
- Historical emissions
Kazakhstan adopted its first Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) in 2016 and has not yet submitted an update.1 The NDC aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% below 1990 levels (including LULUCF) by 2030, conditional on international support. When excluding LULUCF, this is equivalent to 293 MtCO₂e/yr by 2030, or 24% below 1990 levels by 2030.2
1 Republic of Kazakhstan. Intended Nationally Determined Contribution – Submission of the Republic of Kazakhstan. 2016.
2 Climate Action Tracker. Kazakhstan | Climate Action Tracker. 2022.
3 Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Doctrine (strategy) of achieving carbon neutrality of the Republic of Kazakhstan until 2060. 2021.
4 Assel Satubaldina. Tokayev Announces Kazakhstan’s Pledge to Reach Carbon Neutrality by 2060. The Astana Times. 2020.
5 Republic of Kazakhstan. Fourth Biennial Report of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. 2019.
6 Official Information Source of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan presents plans to achieve carbon neutrality. 2022.
7 IEA & EU4Energy. Clean Household Energy Consumption in Kazakhstan: A Roadmap. 2020.
8 IEA. Kazakhstan 2022 Energy Sector Review. 2022.
9 International Carbon Action Partnership. Kazakhstan Emissions Trading System. 2022..
10 International Transport Forum. Enhancing Connectivity and Freight in Central Asia. 2019.
11 Tanzila Khan, Sumati Kohli, Zifei Yang & Josh Miller. Zero-emission vehicle deployment: Europe, Middle East, and Central & South Asia. 2022..
12 Gütschow, J., Günther, A. & Pflüger, M. The PRIMAP-hist national historical emissions time series v2.3 (1750-2019). Preprint at doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.5175154 (2021).
13 President of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Concept for transition of the Republic of Kazakhstan to Green Economy. Preprint at policy.asiapacificenergy.org/sites/default/files/Concept%20on%20Transition%20towards%20Green%20Economy%20until%202050%20%28EN%29.pdf (2013).
14 Pedro Plowman. Kazakhstan has launched a massive project to plant one million trees every day until 2026. Medium. 2020.
15 Lloyds Bank. The economic context of Kazakhstan. 2022.
Kazakhstan did not submit an updated NDC as agreed under the Paris Agreement. As agreed at COP26 and reiterated in COP27, Kazakhstan would need to submit an updated NDC and strengthen its mitigation target for 2030. Closing the gap between Kazakhstan’s target and 1.5°C compatible domestic emissions pathway could be made possible with and through international support.
Our analysis of 1.5°C compatible pathways shows that Kazakhstan would need to reach an emission levels of 51 MtCO₂e/yr by 2050 (excluding LULUCF). This is equivalent to emissions reductions of 87% below 1990 levels by 2050.
Net zero CO₂
In 2020, President Tokayev announced Kazakhstan’s intention of achieving carbon neutrality by 2060, and in September 2021, the government published its Doctrine to achieve this.3,4 While several elements of the target can be improved, the Doctrine does include clear economy-wide and sectoral emissions pathways.2
Decarbonising the energy sector is a key priority for achieving these emissions reductions, as it is responsible for 80% of total emissions.
- The power sector is responsible for about one-third of Kazakhstan’s total emissions excluding LULUCF.5 Our analysis of 1.5°C pathways shows that Kazakhstan’s power sector carbon intensity could reach 30-200 gCO₂/kWh by 2030 from 490 gCO₂/kWh in 2019. This could be enabled by a rapid shift away from its fossil fuel reliance, decreasing unabated fossil fuels in the power mix from 89% in 2019 to 6-28% by 2030.
- In these pathways, fossil fuel use would be displaced with an accelerated uptake of renewable energy from 11% of the power mix in 2019, to 70-94% by 2030.
- Renewable targets in the 2013 Concept for Kazakhstan’s Transition to Green Economy aim to increase gas generation in the power mix and fall short of what is needed to be 1.5°C compatible. Government officials have claimed that reducing coal power generation to about 40% of the power mix in 2030 through the end-of-life decommissioning of coal plants would achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement; however, 1.5°C compatible pathways show coal would need to phase out of the power system by 2030.6
- Kazakhstan’s cold climate requires significant energy for heating; however, many Kazakhstanis lack access to clean and affordable options for space heating, leading to a high reliance on solid fuels, particularly coal.
- Across 1.5°C pathways, building sector direct CO₂ emissions decline immediately from 2019, and the sector is fully decarbonised between 2042 and 2050. This is enabled by rapid electrification. 24-33% of buildings would be electrified by 2030 and 58-77% by 2050.
- While the government has implemented energy efficiency policies, emissions from the residential sector are still largely unregulated under Kazakhstan’s Environmental Code, updated in 2021.7
- In 1.5°C pathways, Kazakhstan’s industry sector energy mix is decarbonised by 2047, enabled largely by higher electrification rates, ramping up from 29% in 2019 to 50-67% by mid-century.
- Kazakhstan’s process-related industry emissions have increased 65% since 2000, though they slightly declined between 2017-2019. Analysed 1.5°C pathways show Kazakhstan’s process-related emissions rapidly declining to be almost completely phased out as early as 2040.
- Kazakhstan’s direct CO₂ emissions from transportation increased by 24% from 2010 to 2019. Fossil fuels accounted for 95% of the transport sector’s final energy mix in 2019, almost entirely from oil-based fuels.
- In 1.5°C pathways, CO₂ emissions from transport are phased out by between 2047 to 2052. This is supported by rapid electrification, increasing from 5% in 2019 to 21-40% by 2030 and 67-90% by 2050. Pathways with lower levels of electricity have higher shares of hydrogen or biofuels, reaching 25-70% and 3-14% of the transport energy mix by 2050, respectively.
- Kazakhstan is a key land bridge connecting Europe and Asia, accounting for more than 80% of Central Asian rail freight activity.10 This creates a large opportunity for electrified rail; however, recent investments in Kazakhstan are largely for road projects. The current share of electric vehicles (EVs) in Kazakhstan is low; however, the government has adopted some policies to support EV adoption and manufacturing.11