How Kazakhstan is transitioning to a greener economy

Robyn Camp, a carbon market specialist with Tetra Tech, explains how Kazakhstan is working to shift to a greener economy. Countries are starting to see the dangers in relying on fossil fuels.

The future of carbon is up in the air at COP21 — how its emissions into the atmosphere can be mitigated, sequestered, regulated and priced. Carrying those out at the national level will require sacrifice and change from the normal way of doing business.

To get a sense of the commitment involved, look at Kazakhstan. The central Asian country is a major petroleum producer, is home to one of the largest oil fields outside of the Middle East and, because of its historic linkages to the Soviet Union, has deep economic interests tied to the fossil fuel industry.

Yet despite that, Kazakhstan has taken up a national ambition to reinvent its economy based largely on green standards. Among them are policies to improve energy efficiency, increase the use of renewable energies and implement a nationwide emissions trading scheme — the first one adopted in Asia.

“These are really innovative tools, very unusual for a developing petro-based economy,” Robyn Camp, a carbon market specialist with Tetra Tech, told Devex. “But they see it as a really essential ingredients for transforming and being competitive in 2050.”

Kazakhstan has set a goal of becoming one of the top 30 most competitive economies in the world by 2050, Camp said. “When they survey the other countries they consider the top economies, they see [the ones] making the transition to a green economy.”

Watch the video to learn what else Camp, who is helping Kazakhstan implement its emissions trading scheme, has to say about the transition from a petro-economy to one of greater energy efficiency.

Planet Worth is a global conversation in partnership with Abt Associates, Chemonics, HELVETAS, Tetra Tech, the U.N. Development Program and Zurich, exploring leading solutions in the fight against climate change, while highlighting the champions of climate adaptation amid emerging global challenges. Visit the campaign site and join the conversation using #PlanetWorth.

About the author

  • Naki B. Mendoza

    Naki is a former reporter, he covered the intersection of business and international development. Prior to Devex he was a Latin America reporter for Energy Intelligence covering corporate investments and political risks in the region’s energy sector. His previous assignments abroad have posted him throughout Europe, South America, and Australia.

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