Climate change is expected to increase the surface temperature of the Earth and the oceans, raise sea levels, alter the global distribution of rainfall, affect the direction of ocean currents and major air streams, and increase the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events. Climate change is already causing loss of life, damaging property and affecting livelihoods in many parts of the world, and it is expected to continue to do so in the future. Climate change will affect all nations, but the impact will be higher on low-income countries, such as Ethiopia, which have limited capacity to cope with the effects of a changing climate.
Recognizing the close links between environmental and development concerns, Ethiopia is working to integrate climate considerations into its broader development planning processes. The Ethiopian Climate Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) initiative, which was launched in 2011, laid the foundation for integrated planning for climate-resilient green development. Ethiopia aims to achieve middle-income status by 2025 while developing a green economy. Following the conventional development path would, among other adverse effects, result in a sharp increase in GHG emissions and unsustainable use of natural resources. Climate change offers a lens through which Ethiopia can revisit some of its most intractable problems so that the challenge faced positions Ethiopia at the forefront of the low carbon revolution promised by the climate agenda. Ethiopia has huge low carbon potential: it is rich in forests and has ample renewable resources of hydro, solar, wind and geothermal energy. To make the most of this potential, the country will need to ensure that its long-term planning is compatible with a low carbon future and make it as attractive as possible to carbon investors.
Ethiopia, through a Climate Resilient Green Economy Strategy, intends to limit its net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2030 to 145 MtCOe or lower. This would constitute a 255 MtCOe reduction from the projected ‘business-as-usual’ (BAU) emissions in 2030 or a 64% reduction from the BAU scenario in 2030. Ethiopia also intends to undertake adaptation initiatives to reduce the vulnerability of its population, environment and economy to the adverse effects of climate change, based on its Climate Resilient Green Economy Strategy (CRGE). The CRGE is Ethiopia’s strategy for addressing both climate change adaptation and mitigation objectives. The implementation of the CRGE would ensure a resilient economic development pathway while decreasing per capita emissions by 64% or more. The CRGE is also integrated into the Second Growth and Transformation Plan (the national development plan). In the long term, Ethiopia intends to achieve its vision of becoming carbon-neutral, with the mid-term goal of attaining middle- income status.
Ethiopia was the first Least Developed Country (LDC) and the third African country to submit its ambitious Intended Nationally determined Contribution (INDC) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which sets out plans to reduce its national GHG level by 64% in 2030 from ‘business as usual level.
The economic, social, and environmental risks of unabated climate change are immense. They threaten to roll back the fruits of decades of growth and development, undermine prosperity, and jeopardize countries’ ability to achieve even the most basic socio-economic development goals in the future, including the eradication of poverty and continued economic growth.