In 2016, Kazakhstan adopted its first Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). In 2020/21 countries were supposed to have submitted an updated NDC under the Paris Agreement, but Kazakhstan has not yet done so.
Its 2016 NDC aims to reduce GHG emissions by 25% below 1990 levels (including LULUCF) by 2030, conditional on international support. If LULUCF is excluded, Kazakhstan’s conditional mitigation target is equivalent to 293 MtCO₂e/yr by 2030, or 24% below 1990 levels by 2030.
This target is not in line with a Paris Agreement compatible pathway, which would require a domestic target of 178 MtCO₂e/yr (excluding LULUCF) by 2030, equivalent to 54% below 1990 levels. Closing the gap between Kazakhstan’s target and 1.5°C compatible domestic emissions pathway should be made possible with and through international support, in line with the principle of equity that is a key part of the Paris Agreement.
Long term pathway
In 2020, President Tokayev announced Kazakhstan’s intention of achieving carbon neutrality by 2060 at the UN Climate Ambition Summit. In September 2021, the government published its Doctrine (Strategy) to Achieve Carbon Neutrality Until 2060. While several elements of the target can be improved, the Doctrine does include clear economy-wide and sectoral emissions pathways.
Our analysis of 1.5°C compatible pathways shows that Kazakhstan would need to reach a greenhouse gas emissions level of 51 MtCO₂e/yr by 2050 (excluding LULUCF). This is equivalent to emissions reductions of 87% below 1990 levels by 2050. Similarly, CO₂ emissions would need to reach 18 MtCO₂/yr, equivalent to 94% below 1990 levels by 2050 (excluding LULUCF). Kazakhstan’s LULUCF sector is currently a net sink, but a relatively minor one compared to national emissions, so unless this increases in magnitude the inclusion of LULUCF is not expected to notably impact when net zero greenhouse gas or CO₂ emissions would need to be achieved.
As energy emissions are currently responsible for about 80% of Kazakhstan’s total GHG emissions, moving away from fossil fuels will be the primary driver to achieve the emissions reductions necessary out to 2050. According to the Doctrine, Kazakhstan needs to nearly phase out emissions from fuel consumption in the heat and electricity sectors by midcentury to achieve its carbon neutrality target, reducing these emissions by about 99% from 2017 to 2050. For comparison, our analysis finds that the electricity sector is decarbonised by the early 2040s in 1.5°C pathways.