Kazakhstan’s vision to achieve carbon neutrality presented at high-level conference in Nur-Sultan

October 13, 2021

Photo credit: UNDP Kazakhstan, High-Level Event "Ways to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement and Kazakhstan’s carbon neutrality", Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, 13 October 2021

Today Kazakhstan’s vision to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060 has been presented at the high-Level event in Nur-Sultan.  The President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and UNDP Regional Director for Europe and the CIS, Mirjana Spoljaric Egger opened the event. John Kerry, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, addressed the audience in a recorded video message. 

“Kazakhstan is consistent in its support to the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres’s call for achieving net zero carbon dioxide emissions. Today we will discuss what we must do to achieve our common goal”, said President Tokayev.

Photo credit:Akorda Press Office, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev is speaking at the High-Level Event dedicated to the achievement of the goals of the Paris Agreement and Kazakhstan’s carbon neutrality, Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, 13 October 2021

In December 2020, at the Climate Ambitions Summit, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev announced an ambitious goal - to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060, then reaffirming Kazakhstan’s strong commitment to fighting climate change and taking targeted action under the Paris agreement.

To achieve this goal, Kazakhstan has developed a long-term Doctrine of Carbon Neutral Development until 2060 – a framework with a clear sustainable recovery, low-carbon development pathway, and energy sector transition. The doctrine provides a set of key measures to reduce emissions and decarbonize the economy, such as the abandonment of new coal-fired generation projects and the phasing out of coal combustion (2021-2025), the implementation of a program to plant 2 billion trees (2025), a doubling of the share of renewable energy sources in electricity generation (2030), 100 percent sorting of municipal solid waste (2040), sustainable agriculture on 75 percent of arable land (2045), 100 percent electrification of personal passenger transport (2045), the use of green hydrogen only and a  complete refusal to use coal-fired production from 2050 onwards.

Green transition depends on getting the financing right. It requires bringing public and private sectors together. In Kazakhstan, UNDP has been deploying catalytic and innovative instruments to mobilize private sector investments in sustainable development, such as carbon offsetting, energy efficiency subsidies, loan guarantee schemes, and green bonds. On public funding, more effective domestic resource allocation through the national budget, which prioritizes a sustainable and low-carbon infrastructure, should be high on the agenda. That is why UNDP is calling for an end to fossil fuel subsidies as the critical step to divest from fossil fuels and invest in both people and the planet”, said Ms. Spoljaric Egger at the event in Nur-Sultan.

Photo credit: UNDP Kazakhstan, The welcoming speech of the UN Assistant Secretary-General, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Regional Director for Europe, and the CIS Mirjana Spoljaric Egger at the High-Level Event dedicated to the achievement of the goals of the Paris Agreement and Kazakhstan’s carbon neutrality, Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, 13 October 2021

This national long-term strategy on emissions reduction and economy decarbonization will be presented at the upcoming Conference of the Parties (COP26) - the world's major climate event - which will take place from 31 October to 12 November 2021 in Glasgow, the United Kingdom. The leaders of 196 countries will gather to coordinate their actions in the fight against climate change for the people and the planet.

Anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions in recent years have reached the highest levels in history of humanity, and the catastrophic impact of climate change is observed all over the planet. In 2019, greenhouse gas emissions in Kazakhstan amounted to 354 million tons of CO2 eq. and more than 80 percent of them were due to the combustion of fossil fuels - coal, oil, and natural gas. In relative terms, the country is also one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases in Central Asia.

The momentum for decarbonization in Central Asia is real. Kazakhstan shows political will and the vision to lead the way. Because, without decisive action, the region will risk missing out on the energy transition”, - said Ms. Spoljaric Egger. “Investing in clean energy creates almost three times more jobs than investing in fossil fuels. In 2018, a record 11 million people were employed in the renewable energy sector. Central Asia has great untapped renewable energy resources, especially of hydropower, biomass, geothermal, wind and solar. Moreover, energy efficiency and green hydrogen will also play an important role in decarbonization”, she added.

The event gathered high-level participants from government institutions, top management of large industrial companies, financial institutions, development partners, and media. The event served as a platform to bringing to the attention of the public the economic and social opportunities provided by the transformation to a carbon-neutral society, as well as necessary decarbonization policies and transformations in infrastructure and technologies required for a low-carbon and climate-resilient development path.

Globally, UNDP manages a US$4.9 billion portfolio in grant financing for sustainable energy, buildings, transport, industry, agriculture, and biodiversity projects in 137 countries and territories worldwide, which has leveraged an additional $21 billion, benefitted 86 million people directly and 111 million – indirectly.

Photo credit: UNDP Kazakhstan, Minister of Ecology, Geology, and Natural Resources of Kazakhstan Serikkali Brekeshev is presenting the Doctrine of Carbon-Neutral Development at the High-Level Event dedicated to the achievement of the goals of the Paris Agreement and Kazakhstan’s carbon neutrality, Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, 13 October 2021

Building upon decades of collaboration with governments in the promotion of green and low carbon development, UNDP stands ready to mobilize its policy experience and expertise to assist the Government of Kazakhstan in successfully implementing its energy transition in an economically viable and socially fair way. UNDP remains committed to continuing fruitful cooperation with the Government of Kazakhstan and all partners to take forward the vision of this conference and advance it to a future that is sustainable and prosperous for all.