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Ethiopia-national greenhouse gas emissions baseline scenarios: learning from experiences in developing countries

“Like most countries, Ethiopia is experiencing the effects of climate change. Aside from direct effects, such as an increase in average temperature or change in rainfall patterns. Climate change has been seen to present an opportunity to tap into a new and sustainable development model. Consequently, the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia initiated the Climate- Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) Strategy with a view to withstanding the adverse effects of climate change, while building a green economy. The CRGE Strategy, developed in 2010, was constructed as an offshoot of a five-year plan to reach middle income status before 2025. In the CRGE model, emissions were compared between business-as-usual growth and low-carbon growth across potential emitting sectors. Ethiopia’s BAU greenhouse gas emissions are expected to more than double from 150 Mt CO2 e in 2010 to 400 Mt CO2 e in 2030; the low-carbon growth model limits 2030 emissions to 2010 levels. Meanwhile, the country’s development path could face resource constraints such as:

  • Reaching carrying capacity levels of essential ecosystems.
  • Locking into out-dated technologies that would imply very high costs for switching to newer technologies.
  • Locking into unsound policy measures, such as subsidizing fossil fuels that already absorb a large share of the country’s GDP.

Built on this conceptual framework, the CRGE initiative follows a sectoral approach focusing on five critical high- emitting sectors chosen through a consultative process. These sectors are: agriculture (including forestry, soil- based emissions, and livestock), green cities and buildings, industry, transport, and energy. After emissions were projected, abatement measures were selected with the aim of making sector- wide emission growth carbon neutral by the year 2025. These abatement measures are prioritised in order based on cost efficiency, short-run feasibility, and high value – in terms of contributions to the country’s five-year development plan.

Conceptually, the CRGE plan is based on four pillars:

  1.  Improving crop and livestock production practices for higher food security and farmer income,  while reducing emissions.
  2.  Protecting and re-establishing forests for their economic and ecosystem functions, including as carbon stocks.
  3. Expanding electricity generation from renewable sources for domestic and regional markets (to export electricity).
  4. Leapfrogging to modern and energy-efficient technologies in transport, industrial sectors, and buildings.

Ethiopia’s “baseline target” is to stabilise greenhouse gas emissions. These priority measures, expand across 60 sectors, increase Ethiopia’s ability to achieve its development goals, whilst limiting 2030 greenhouse gas emissions to approximately current levels of 150 Mt CO2 .

Progress and Outcomes

Capacity building needs identified are lessons learned, challenges and gaps, including those that may be common between countries, and aspects of good practice for assumptions, methodologies and other aspects of baseline setting.”


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