With a population of around 9.5 million (2019), Belarus represent a relatively small portion, 0.18% of the global GHG emissions. In 2018, CO2 emissions per capita for Belarus was 6.8 mt, and though the indicator fluctuated substantially in recent years, it tended to increase. The carbon intensity of the economy in the period 1995-2012 decreased almost 4 times, making it the fastest rate of progress toward low-carbon development in Europe. In Belarus, energy and agriculture are the two sectors with the largest GHG emission shares, 66.8% and 25% respectively, and this is where the majority of the mitigation potential lies. As an Annex I country, in its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), Belarus made an unconditional quantified emission reduction target to reduce GHG emissions by at least 28 per cent by 2030, compared to 1990 base year.
The country faces significant climate change related threats. Temperatures, floods, droughts, and precipitation patterns have begun to diverge from historical patterns, which will impact multiple sectors. Water, while abundant within Belarus, may deteriorate in quality due to increased flooding, extreme rain events, and changes in runoff patterns. Furthermore, changing rainfall patterns and flooding may alter the distribution of dangerous radionuclides, particularly in food and water resources, found in southern Belarus as a result of the 1986 Chernobyl accident. In a country with almost 43% forested land, rising temperatures are likely to change ecosystem function, forest composition, and certain species of trees, such as spruce, will suffer. Drought and increased temperatures could make forests more vulnerable to climate-related threats, such as disease outbreaks and forest fires. The most vulnerable sectors are agriculture, human health, forestry, water resources, and energy.
There are various binding legislative provisions and other regulations in effect in Belarus, specifying policies and measures with targets for reduction of GHG emissions and reducing the energy intensity of the economy. The National Sustainable Development Strategy for the period 2021-2030, places due emphasis on low-emission development. Belarus adopted a green economy strategy until 2030, with a focus on green innovation, improving people’s quality of life and increasing the competitiveness of the national economy. The government has also been integrating the SDGs into national development planning, having invested in both legal frameworks and public campaigns for action in this area. In terms of sustainable energy, Belarus has started to electrify its transport infrastructure and invest in energy efficiency. It has also been actively supporting decentralized solar energy systems with a focus on hospitals, schools and other public buildings.
The National Designated Authority in the climate change area is the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection.