Botswana is a landlocked country within Southern Africa that shares borders with Angola, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The country is located within the shallow basin formed by the interior plateau of southern Africa. Nearly three-quarters of the country is covered by the Kalahari sands, which fill the basin to a depth of up to several hundred meters. The majority of Botswana's land surface is nearly flat, with a mean altitude of 1,000 meters above sea level. The southeast of the country, and isolated inselbergs in the northwest, has slightly more clayey and fertile soils (MWTC, 2001).
Botswana has a thriving diamond mining sector, the revenue from which the government has used to drive one of the fastest growth rates per capita in the world (USDS, 2010). The diamond sector accounts for around one-third of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 70 per cent of its export earnings (USDS, 2010). Tourism is also a major industry in Botswana, accounting for 10 per cent of the country’s GDP. The major tourist attraction in the country is the Okavango Delta, located in northwest Botswana, which is popular for gaming and safaris (USDS, 2010). Approximately 50 per cent of Botswana’s rural population is still dependent on subsistence agriculture for their livelihoods, despite less than 5 per cent of the country being suitable for cultivation (MWTC, 2001; USDS, 2010). In addition, almost 50 per cent of the population of Botswana relies on livestock for in-kind income, including food, draught, milk and skins. This activity is culturally very significant (MWTC, 2001).
Climate change considerations in Botswana are championed by the National Committee on Climate Change and representatives from government departments and ministries, non-governmental organisations and the private sector regularly meet to discuss climate change issues and the possible impacts in various sectors. Whilst there is no dedicated policy to respond to climate change in Botswana, the potential for future climate change and the associated environmental threats is acknowledged in the National Development Plan. Climate change issues are addressed in a combination of different policy areas with a common focus on sustainable growth. Specific climate adaptation and mitigation policies are already in place in some sectors, such as the strong governmental support for solar energy technologies in the energy sector.
Botswana is believed to be a net sink for greenhouse gases, since emissions resulting from the burning of fossil fuels in Botswana in 1994 were small and were more than balanced by a net increase in the size and number of trees. The greenhouse gases reported here are carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. Excluding the uptake of carbon dioxide through tree growth in Botswana, the climate-changing effect of the emissions are 52% due to carbon dioxide, 33% due to methane and 16% due to nitrous oxide, and the sum is equivalent to about 0.02% of the global anthropogenic emission (IPCC, 1995). The sectoral origin of the CO2 equivalent emissions in 1994 was as follows: 57% agriculture, 17% electrical power generation, 10% mining and industry, 8% transport, 3% domestic heating and cooking and 1% government.