Thursday, October 28, 2021

Botswana needs $18 billion to achieve a 15% reduction in emissions

According to Botswana’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), approximately $18.4 billion is required to achieve the set target of a 15% Green House Gas (GHG) emission reduction by 2030.

Botswana’s 15% emissions reduction target by 2030 will be done taking 2010 as the base year, of which at that time, emission estimates were at 8307 total greenhouse gas emissions (Gg) of CO2 equivalent. The government has said the targeted emissions reduction will be achieved domestically through strategies and measures which are relevant for the implementation of the target. Consequently, achieving such targets is a function of resource availability and appropriate legal frameworks.

A report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has taken note of some climate change mitigation projects under implementation in the country. There are several potential biogas projects in the pipeline for implementation; mainly the Botswana Meat Commission biogas plant, Mmamashia Biogas plant, Mabesekwa Bio plant and household biogas plants. According to the IRENA report, the combined estimated avoided GHG emissions from these projects is approximately 190 Gg CO2 eq. by 2030. Also, at full operation, the country’s solar power stations have the potential to reduce GHG emissions by 261 Gg CO2 eq. by the year 2030. Under a planning scenario to install 1000 streetlights per year by the Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation (BITRI), the streetlights have the potential to reduce national GHG emissions by 3.87 Gg CO2 eq. by 2030.

As the country is gradually on its path of a 15% reduction in emissions, Botswana is one of the countries hardest hit by the effects of climate change in Africa. The Semi-Arid country is exposed to numerous hazards including droughts, floods, earthquakes, strong winds, land fires and pest infestations. Recurring droughts and floods have the most severe impact on the population and the country has a long history of both recurring floods and droughts, however, the magnitude, frequency, and impact have been observed to have increased.

Climate variability is already negatively impacting livelihoods, and this is expected to continue. Droughts and floods are said to be the most destructive climate-related natural hazards in Botswana.

A history of natural disasters in Botswana from 1900-2020 in the World Bank’s Climate Risk Country Profile of Botswana has not only revealed the effect on mortality of climate-related hazards, but as well as the country’s estimated damages. In that time frame, Botswana has recorded six events of drought that affected 1,344,900 people with damages valued at 47 000 000 USD. The country experienced one flash flood which claimed 20 lives, affected 5 500 lives, and seven riverine floods that claimed 23 lives, with damages worth 5,00,000 USD.

The National Disaster Management Office has said in the past that climate change is expected to increase the risk and intensity of flooding as well as increase the likelihood for water scarcity for northern, central and eastern areas of the country. Increased potential for higher intensity rainfall events will lead to the heightened risk of flooding, loss of life, and damage to property and infrastructure. Intense rainfall and flooding may also result in soil erosion and waterlogging of crops, thus decreasing yields and increasing food insecurity.  The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in its country programmes for Botswana, has said this is likely to result in significant economic losses, damage to agricultural lands and infrastructure as well as human casualties.

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