While Morocco’s unconditional NDC pledge, if achieved, would begin to slow the growth of emissions, Morocco conditionally proposes to go much further, by halting growth in GHG emissions. Planned mitigation actions under the National Energy Strategy, which aims to achieve Morocco’s NDC, include the implementation of an ambitious 42% target of installed electricity production capacity from renewable sources by 2020, increasing to 52% by 2030. Recent developments show that Morocco is on track to meet its 2020 renewable energy targets and is at an advanced planning stage to meet its 2030 renewable energy targets. We rate Morocco’s NDC “1.5°C Paris Agreement compatible”.
On 21 September 2016, Morocco ratified the Paris Agreement, and submitted its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), with a target of reducing GHG emissions including land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) by 17% below business as usual (BAU) by 2030. With sufficient international support, Morocco aims to further decrease emissions by 42% below BAU by 2030.
We calculate the absolute GHG emissions level, excluding LULUCF emissions, resulting from the unconditional and conditional NDC emission reduction targets in 2030 to be 142 MtCO2e and 103 MtCO2e, respectively. The “1.5°C Paris Agreement compatible” rating indicates that Morocco’s climate commitment in 2030 is consistent with holding warming well below 2°C, and limiting warming to 1.5°C. Morocco’s commitment does not require other countries to make comparably deeper reductions or greater effort, and is in the most stringent part of its fair share range.
Morocco’s NDC submission includes detailed information on activities currently under implementation and planned measures to achieve its unconditional and conditional NDC targets. Most prominently, the NDC builds upon the National Energy Strategy to significantly extend the production capacity for renewable electricity. Under the National Energy Strategy, Morocco pursues an ambitious target to increase the share of installed electricity production capacity from renewable sources to 42% in 2020 and to 52% in 2030. The CAT has assessed in detail the impact of mitigation actions currently under implementation for Morocco. We find Morocco very close to meeting its unconditional NDC targets under current policies due to the ambitious capacity extension of solar, wind and hydro energy. However, it would certainly need to implement additional policies to reach its conditional NDC target by 2030. If the CAT were to rate Morocco’s projected emissions levels in 2030 under current policies, we would rate Morocco “2°C compatible.”
In comparison to Morocco’s INDC submitted on 5 June 2015 (Government of Morocco 2015), the NDC raises ambition in intended emissions reductions—both under the unconditional and conditional target—by explicitly including additional emissions reduction contributions from agriculture, forestry and other land use (AFOLU). The NDC further specifies which measures will be undertaken to achieve its unconditional (24 measures) and conditional (an additional 31 measures) NDC targets and thus increases transparency on Morocco’s emissions reduction efforts. Interestingly to note, both NDC and INDC refer to the exact same BAU emissions projections until 2030, although the 1st Biennial Update Report and the 3rd National Communication both slightly revised the BAU scenario downward in the meantime (Government of Morocco 2016a, 2016c).
 Excluding emissions reduction contributions from agriculture, forestry and other land use (AFOLU), Morocco targets to unconditionally reduce GHG emissions by 13%.
 Excluding emissions reduction contributions from agriculture, forestry and other land use (AFOLU), Morocco targets to conditionally decrease GHG emissions by 34%.
In September 2016, Morocco ratified the Paris Agreement, and submitted its NDC to the UNFCCC (Government of Morocco 2016b). It aims to unconditionally reduce GHG emissions including land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) in 2030 by 17% below business as usual (BAU) projections.
Conditional upon access to new sources of finance, and to additional support compared to that received in the past, Morocco would increase its GHG emissions reductions including LULUCF to 42% below business as usual (BAU) in 2030.
In its NDC submission, Morocco included projections for the BAU emissions trajectory from 2010 to 2030. The BAU emissions projections provided in the NDC are in line with the projections previously provided in Morocco’s INDC (Government of Morocco 2015). BAU emissions projections, however, had been slightly revised downward in the 1st Biennial Update Report and the 3rd National Communication, both of which were submitted in April 2016 (Government of Morocco 2016a, 2016c).
The NDC reports unconditional and conditional target emissions levels, both including and excluding intended emissions reductions from agriculture, forestry and other land use (AFOLU). To recalculate NDC targets only excluding emissions from LULUCF but including agriculture, we subtract projections of LULUCF emissions under the NDC from the NDC targets including LULUCF. We derived these projections by taking the BAU emissions projections for the LULUCF sector provided in the 3rd National Communication and accounting for targeted emissions reductions from the LULUCF sector under the NDC. The absolute GHG emission level excluding LULUCF emissions resulting from the unconditional NDC emission reduction target in 2030 is 142 MtCO2e excluding LULUCF. The conditional target would lead to additional reductions and a lower emissions level of 103 MtCO2e in 2030 excluding LULUCF.
In its NDC submission, Morocco included a detailed list of actions which it expects are necessary to achieve the unconditional and conditional targets. Many of these actions are already anchored in national legislation, for example the target to increase the share of renewable electric capacity to 42% by 2020. It further illustrates in which sectors the conditional target would trigger additional reductions, through a total of 31 measures. The 1st Biennial Update Report and the 3rd National Communication (Government of Morocco 2016a, 2016c) further outline these identified mitigation actions, providing detailed descriptions and respective emissions reduction estimates. To implement these actions, Morocco requires an overall investment of USD $50 billion between 2010 and 2030. Of this, USD $24 billion are expected to come from access to new sources and to additional support, compared to that received over the past years (Government of Morocco 2016b).
We rate Morocco’s NDC “1.5°C Paris Agreement compatible.” The “1.5°C Paris Agreement compatible” rating indicates that Morocco’s climate commitment in 2030 is consistent with holding warming well below 2oC, and limiting warming to 1.5°C. Morocco’s commitment does not require other countries to make comparably deeper reductions or greater effort, and is in the most stringent part of its Fair Share range.
Morocco’s contribution is in line with most effort sharing approaches. Some approaches would allow a further increase of absolute emission levels, mostly because Morocco has very low historic and current per capita emissions. Approaches that focus on the Human Development Indicator as an indication of capability would require more stringent reductions.
The CAT ratings are based on climate commitments in (I)NDCs. If the CAT were to rate Morocco’s projected emissions levels in 2030 under current policies, we would rate Morocco“2°C compatible,” indicating that Morocco’s climate policies in 2030 are within the range of what is considered to be a fair share of global effort but are not consistent with the Paris Agreement. This approach requires other countries to make deeper reductions and comparably greater effort to limit warming to 1.5°C. If all countries were to follow Morocco’s approach, warming could be held below—but not well below—2°C, and hence would still be too high to be consistent with the Paris Agreement 1.5°C temperature limit. The 2°C compatible category refers to the 2°C goal adopted by the Copenhagen Agreement in 2009, now replaced by the 1.5 ?C limit in the Paris Agreement, providing a historical reference point and bridge to the Paris Agreement compatible category rating.
For further information about the risks and impacts associated with the temperature levels of each of the categories click here.
The current policy projections indicate that Morocco’s GHG emissions in 2030 will be 150 MtCO2e excluding LULUCF (201% above 2005 levels and 471% above 1990 levels).
The Moroccan Climate Change Policy (MCCP) coordinates and aligns various sectoral and cross-sectoral national policies against climate change, mainly in the energy, waste, transportation, agriculture and forestry sectors. The MCCP is not additionally considered in the Climate Action Tracker’s current policy projection as the policy in itself does not enforce quantifiable measures or targets.
At the core of Morocco’s current emissions reduction efforts stands the National Energy Strategy, which aims to extend the share of renewable electricity capacity to 42% by 2020 and to 52% by 2030 (Government of Morocco 2016b). The National Energy Strategy mainly focuses on the capacity extension of wind, solar and hydro-electric electricity generation. The extension of wind, solar and hydro capacity by 2020 is estimated to reduce emissions by 11 MtCO2 annually (Government of Morocco 2016c). In 2015, Morocco’s share of renewable electricity capacity had reached 34% (Hamane 2016; World Future Council 2016). Morocco further increased the total installed renewable electricity generation capacity to 2,011 MW in 2016 (IRENA 2017), which represents an increase of additional 62 MW compared to 2015.
Under the Morocco Solar Plan (Noor), Morocco plans to extend installed solar power capacity (PV and CSP) to 2,000 MW by 2020, starting from 180 MW of installed capacity at the end of 2015. Contrary to the CAT assessment in 2016, which displayed an uncertainty range for the implementation of the Morocco Solar Plan, our current policy projection assumes the full implementation of Morocco Solar Plan due to recent progress to meet the 2020 capacity targets, as explained below.
After recent administrative restructuring, the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (MASEN) will take over the lead for the development of all renewable energy technologies in Morocco (Renewables Now 2016) from the Moroccan Electricity and Water Utility Company (ONEE). This includes the ongoing development of ONEE’s solar power programme for 500 MW by 2020, including the three large projects Noor-Tafilalet (120 MW), Noor-Atlas (200 MW) and Noor Argana (100 MW). As for the projects already led by MASEN, construction of the 4th phase of the Noor Ouarzazate complex (70 MW of final total of 580 MW) commenced in the 1st quarter of 2017 (PV Magazine 2017) and build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) agreements were awarded for the first phases of the Noor Laayoune (80 MW) and Noor Boujdour (20 MW) projects in November 2016 (L’economiste 2017). Finally, MASEN announced the upcoming bidding process for two 400 MW plants (combined PV and CSP) in early 2017 (Reuters 2016), in addition to a call for expression of interest for the development of 400 MW at the Noor Midelt solar power complex which was launched in July 2016 (Renewables Now 2017).
Owing to these recent developments, it is assumed that the Morocco Solar Plan’s capacity extension targets until 2020 will be fully implemented. Some of the latest project developments already address capacity extension plans for the post-2020 period to achieve the 2030 capacity extension target. In our CAT assessment we have not quantified these impacts as the developments and successful implementation for the post-2020 period are relatively more uncertain.
As an extension of the Morocco Hydro-Electric Plan, Morocco plans to install an additional hydro-electric capacity of 775 MW by 2020, on top of the already-installed capacity of about 1,300 MW in 2010. As of 2015, Morocco had already installed 1,770 MW in hydro-electric capacity (IRENA 2016). Three plants with a total potential capacity of around 300 MW are further assumed to be developed until 2020, with El Menzel and Station de Transfert d’Energie par Pompage (STEP) Abdelmoumen already under construction. ONEE recently identified numerous sites suitable for locating small or micro hydropower plants (~100 kW to 1,500 kW), with a total potential capacity of around 300 MW (Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy 2016).Contrary to the CAT assessment in 2016, which displayed an uncertainty range for the implementation of the Hydro-Electric Plan’s capacity extension, we assume the Hydro-Electric Plan’s capacity extension targets until 2020 to be fully implemented due to these recent developments.
The Morocco Integrated Wind Energy Program aims to increase the capacity of national wind farms from 797 MW in 2015 to 2,000 MW by 2020 in two different tranches (Government of Morocco, 2016a).
Besides the extension of renewable electricity capacity, our current policy projection includes Morocco’s energy efficiency programmes in the building sector, public lighting and the industry sector. We note, however, that the industrial energy efficiency programme excludes large energy consuming industries (Government of Morocco 2016c).
Tramways in Rabat and Casablanca are currently being extended by 10 km by 2020 and 45 km by 2025, respectively. Similar extensions are planned for the cities of Marrakech, Fès, Tanger and Agadir, although actual implementation has not been started.
For historical emissions, we used national GHG inventory data provided by Morocco’s 1st Biennial Update Report for 1994 until 2012 (Government of Morocco 2016c). All reported values are based on Global Warming Potentials (GWP) from the IPCC’s Second Assessment Report. Inventory emissions data is provided for the years 1994, 2000, 2004-2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012. Linear interpolation is used to fill the data gaps between these years. For the historic years before 1994, we used a linear backward extrapolation of the trend between 1994 and 2010.
Pledges and targets
The targeted emissions levels (incl. LULUCF) for both the unconditional and conditional 2030 pledge are provided in Morocco’s NDC submission (Government of Morocco 2016b). To exclude emissions from LULUCF, NDC targets are recalculated by subtracting projections of LULUCF emissions under the NDC from the targets including LULUCF. We derived these projections by taking the BAU emissions projections for the LULUCF sector provided in the 3rd National Communication and accounting for targeted emissions reductions from the LULUCF sector under the NDC, based on the reported sectoral breakdown of total emissions reduction contributions between 2020 and 2030 in the NDC (see Figure 2 in Government of Morocco 2016a).
Current policy projections
Current trend projections are based on BAU emissions projection provided in the 3rd National Communication (Government of Morocco, 2016b). In addition to the BAU scenario, the current policy projections consider several sectoral policies currently under implementation. For each of these sectoral policies, the 1st Biennial Update Report (Government of Morocco 2016c) provides emissions reduction estimates, which were used to model the current policy emissions pathway.
The current policy scenario considers the extension of national wind farms to a total capacity of 2,000 MW by 2020 under the Morocco Integrated Wind Energy Program, energy efficiency programmes in the building sector, public lighting and the industry sector (excluding large energy consuming industries) as well as the extension of Rabat and Casablanca tramways. The 1st Biennial Update Report provides annual emission reduction estimates by 2020 and 2030 for the all the aforementioned policies (Government of Morocco 2016c). Contrary to the CAT assessment in 2016, which displayed an uncertainty range for the full implementation of the Morocco Solar Plan and the extension of the Morocco Hydro-Electric Plan, this year’s current policies projection assumes the full implementation of both plans until 2020 due to recent positive developments in meeting the 2020 capacity deployment targets. The extension of wind, solar and hydro capacity by 2020 is estimated to reduce emissions by 11 MtCO2 annually (Government of Morocco 2016c).
Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy. 2016. Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency in Morocco.
Government of Morocco. 2015. Intended Nationally Determined Contribution of Morocco.
Government of Morocco. 2016a. 3ème Communication Nationale Du Maroc À La Convention Cadre Des Nations Unies Sur Les Changements Climatiques.
Government of Morocco. 2016b. Morocco’s Nationally Determined Contribution.
Government of Morocco. 2016c. Premier Rapport Biennal Actualisé Du Royaume Du Maroc.
Hamane, Tarik. 2016. A Snapshot of Morocco’s Power Sector.
IRENA. 2016. Renewable Energy Capacity Statistics 2016.
IRENA. 2017. Renewable Energy Capacity Statistics 2017.
L’economiste. 2017. Plan Solaire Noor: Lancement Imminent Des Centrales Photovoltaïques.
PV Magazine. 2017. Morocco Starts Construction on 70 MW Noor Ouarzazate IV PV Plant.
Renewables Now. 2016. Morocco’s Masen to Lead Renewables Build-up of 6,000 MW by 2030.
Renewables Now. 2017. OVERVIEW - Morocco to Add 4 GW of Wind, Solar Capacity by 2020.
Reuters. 2016. Morocco to Tender for 800 MW Solar Plants by Start of 2017.
World Future Council. 2016. A Roadmap for 100 % Renewable Energy in Morocco.