Sunday, February 5, 2023

Botswana on track for net-zero emissions by 2050

A report from researchers at Yale and Columbia Universities shows that Botswana’s environmental performance is on a sustainable path to reach net-zero emissions by mid-century. The report further notes that Botswana is among only four countries in the world set to achieve this target by 2050.

Net zero means cutting greenhouse gas emissions to as close to zero as possible, with any remaining emissions re-absorbed from the atmosphere. The report, called the Environmental Performance Index, which is published every two years notes that: “Out of the 180 countries evaluated in the EPI, only four are on track to reach net-zero emissions by 2050: Denmark, the United Kingdom, Namibia, and Botswana”.

The report’s assessment is based on trajectories from 2010 through 2019.

The report which also takes into account issues such as air quality and biodiversity highlights that while Botswana is the best performing country on the African continent, her ambition of meeting the 2021 Glasgow Climate Pact will be dependent on how she maintains economic growth while decreasing emissions in line with the Glasgow Climate Pact. The 2021 Glasgow Climate Pact is an agreement reached at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) held Scotland. At the conference, the global community established a target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and committed to more ambitious climate policies in pursuit of this aim.

Among other things, the report notes that “Botswana is another top-performing country in the Biodiversity & Habitat issue category, earning the third-highest score”. According to the Botswana Department of Environmental Affairs, Botswana conserves more than 17% of all but one of its seven ecoregions and over 29% of its total territory.

The index, published biennially by Yale and Columbia universities over the past two decades, scores 180 countries on their efforts related to environmental health, ecosystem vitality and climate change. The ranking is based on 40 performance indicators across 11 areas, including biodiversity, water resources and climate change mitigation.

The report also notes that apart from the four countries poised to meet net-zero goals, all other 176 countries would fall short. The report notes that the United States of America (USA), India, China and Russia are on track to account for more than half of global emissions in 2050.

Environmentalists have been quick to point out that although progress to reach net-zero goals was already at snail’s pace, this is likely to worsen in the coming years as a result of the Russia-Ukraine War. As a response to the war, governments all over the world have had to review their energy policies by scrambling for alternatives sources of fuel, mainly coal.

President Mokgweetsi Masisi has already made his intentions known that he plans to supply and meet Europe’s demand for coal with at least “50,000 tonnes a month”.

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Read this week's paper