On 7 November 2016, The Gambia submitted its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), offering to conditionally reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, excluding the land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) sector, by 1.4 MtCO2e in 2025 and by 1.8 MtCO2e in 2030 as compared to business-as-usual (BAU). This is equivalent to a 44.4% reduction below a low BAU scenario excluding LULUCF in 2025 and to a 45.4% reduction in 2030. The Gambia is offering to reduce emissions of 0.079 MtCO2e in 2025 and 0.10 MtCO2e in 2030 unilaterally, with an additional 1.3 MtCO2e in 2025 and 1.7 MtCO2e in 2030, conditional on the availability of international financial and technical support.
In addition, Gambia’s NDC also includes abatement in the LULUCF sector: it plans to unilaterally abate 0.28 MtCO2e by 2025 and 0.33 MtCO2e by 2030 through afforestation. Furthermore, Gambia has pledged to abate 0.69 MtCO2e in 2025 and 0.67 MtCO2e in 2030 by replacing flooded rice fields by dry upland ones and by using efficient cook stoves to reduce the overuse of forest resources, conditional on international support.
The CAT rates (I)NDCs only on unconditional targets excl. LULUCF. Since Gambia submitted its unconditional pledge with a commitment till 2025, the CAT rates the NDC “2°C compatible”. Commitments with this rating are consistent with the 2009 Copenhagen 2°C goal and therefore fall within the country’s fair share range, but are not fully consistent with the Paris Agreement. If all government targets were in this range, warming could be held below, but not well below 2°C, and still be too high to be consistent with the Paris Agreement 1.5°C limit.
The NDC indicated that there are low and medium emissions BAU scenarios. This NDC is relative to the low emissions BAU scenario. However, if it was relative to a medium emissions BAU scenario, the NDC may be rated “Insufficient.”
Gambia is one of the rare developing countries in the world in proposing an ambitious conditional target that would bend its emissions onto a downward trajectory. The conditional target is also in the “2°C compatible” range.
Gambia provides a set of quantified sectoral measures to indicate how it is planning to reach its targets between 2021 and 2025. It will reach its unconditional target by deploying renewable energy, and this target is estimated to abate 0.079 MtCO2e. Its conditional target is estimated to abate additional 1.34 MtCO2e and will be reached through improving energy efficiency in the power system, and in the buildings, transport, agriculture and waste sectors, as well as expanding its unconditional renewable energy target. Excluding the LULUCF sector, by 2030, Gambia is planning to abate a further 0.025 MtCO2e by its own means and 0.32 MtCO2e subject to international support. The expected mitigation from these actions will contribute to an emission level of 1.75 MtCO2e excl. LULUCF in 2030, which is equivalent to 45.4% below a low BAU scenario.
Since the current energy system in Gambia has become a burden on the Gambian economy due to its continued dependence on imported fuel oil, the government has recognised that the transition to an affordable sustainable energy system is a critical milestone for the country’s socio-economic development (IRENA, 2013). To ignite the transition, in 2013 the government enacted the New Renewable Energy law to implement a feed-in tariff for renewable energy sources, and to establish a renewable energy fund to promote the use of such sources (Ministry of Energy, 2013). Currently implemented policies put Gambia on track to meet its unconditional target.
To meet its conditional target and give confidence to international investors, the Gambian government announced, in its Sustainable Energy Action Plan (ECOWAS, 2015), specific renewable energy and energy efficiency targets for 2020 and 2030 and declared the measures it would deploy to reach those targets. Since these measures will be implemented only if Gambia receives international funds and technical support, we do not include them in the current policy projections. Nevertheless these measures set the stage for a rapid implementation of its conditional NDC providing international financial resources are mobilized.
On 7 November 2016, The Gambia submitted its NDC, with the aim of unconditionally reducing GHG emissions excluding the LULUCF sector by 0.079 MtCO2e in 2025. Gambia would increase its GHG reductions by 1.34 MtCO2e excl. LULUCF in 2025 if it receives financial and technical support. By 2030, the unconditional mitigation actions are expected to result in emission reductions of 0.10 MtCO2e excl. LULUCF, while the conditional actions will lead to a further 1.67 MtCO2e of abatement.
In addition, The Gambia plans to unilaterally abate 0.28 MtCO2e in the LULUCF sector through afforestation by 2025. By 2025, it intends to abate 0.69 MtCO2e by replacing flooded rice fields by dry upland ones and by using efficient cook stoves to reduce the overuse of forest resources, conditional to international support.
The NDC indicated that there are “low” and “medium” emissions BAU scenarios. The NDC is relative to the low emissions BAU scenario. According to its NDC, The Gambia’s emissions are projected to grow by 3% annually until 2030. It indicates there are other scenarios assuming higher economic growth, but those have not been made publicly available The submission also provides quantified sectorial mitigation targets with a description of recent policy instruments set in place for means of implementation, and for attracting international support. As a Least Developed Country, Gambia was not urged to provide a quantitative target under the Lima Call for Action. Nonetheless it endeavoured to complete a detailed NDC to drive developed countries to undertake actions proportional to their global responsibilities and capabilities.
We rate the Gambia’s NDC “2°C compatible” based on its unconditional NDC trajectory up to 2030. The “2°C compatible” rating indicates that the Gambia’s climate commitment up to 2030 is within the range of what is considered to be a fair share of global effort but is 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 the Gambia’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’s 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.
The NDC indicated that there are low and medium emissions BAU scenarios. This NDC is relative to the low emissions BAU scenario. However, if it was relative to a medium emissions BAU scenario, the NDC may be rated “Insufficient”. In this case, the commitment would be in the least stringent part of the fair share range and not consistent with holding warming below 2°C let alone with the Paris Agreement’s stronger 1.5°C limit. If all government targets were in this range, warming would reach over 2°C and up to 3°C.
If the CAT were to rate the Gambia’s projected emissions levels up to 2030 under current policies, the Gambia would also be rated “2°C compatible”.
For further information about the risks and impacts associated with the temperature levels of each of the categories click here.
With currently implemented policies, The Gambia says it expects, through deploying renewable energy, to achieve emissions levels (excluding LULUCF) of 3.75 MtCO2e in 2030 instead of 3.85 MtCO2e in its BAU. This is equivalent to an increase of 320% above 1990 levels or 77% above 2010 levels. There is clear evidence that the government is pushing for setting up a framework for renewable energy development. In 2013, the The Gambian Parliament passed the New Renewable Energy law (Ministry of Energy, 2013) and tasked the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority to define and implement the rules for pricing the feed-in tariff (FiT) for renewable electricity. The rules state that the power purchase agreement will be valid for 15 years from plant commissioning and tariffs will be published three years in advance to give certainty to project developers (Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, 2014). The new Law establishes a renewable energy fund to develop renewable energy infrastructure, capacity building, research and development, local equipment production and promotion.
Besides the government’s projections in the NDC, there are no other recent reliable projections for Gambia thus CAT could not refer to other independent data sources. Historical data quality is also poor.
Gambia’s historical emissions are taken from the NDC, as it is the most recent governmental source.
The second national communication and the UNFCCC reports a high quantity of F-gases in 2000, equivalent to 17.3 MtCO2e, outweighing by more than four times the NDC projections in 2030. We thus do not consider this dataset further.
We found a mismatch of 4 MtCO2e between the NDC and a previously submitted by Gambia for the years 2005 and 2010 (Government of the Gambia 2012), which included projections based on US EPA data sources. Since the NDC is the most recent governmental source, we opted to use their data.
The forestry data point is taken from the UNFCCC (2015).
The BAU reference level used to evaluate the current policy projection is the BAU scenario from the NDC submission. This NDC reference scenario was developed based on individual baselines for each sector and assuming GDP growth rates lower than 5.5% till 2016 and 4.5% from 2017 onwards. For population projections, the UN population prospectus 2012 medium fertility scenario was used. According to this, Gambia’s emissions are projected to grow by 3% annually until 2030, whereas in their last submitted NAMA (Government of the Gambia (2012)), Gambia’s emissions were projected to grow annually by 2% till 2030. These projections were based on US EPA (US EPA, 2012). Since the NDC projections are the most recent, sector based, governmental projections for Gambia, we base our reference projections on it.
Our current policy projection is the result of subtracting the reductions related to renewable energy deployment mentioned in the unilateral part of the NDC from the total projected BAU emissions in 2030. Since the Sustainable Energy Action Plan did not provide the shares of the renewable energy capacities that are subject to international finance in 2030, we could not quantify the emissions that could be abated and assumed that the NDC abatement estimation was correct.
Department of Water Resources, Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Forestry, Water and Wildlife (2015). Intended National Determined Contribution
ECOWAS Sustainable Energy Policy and High Level Forum (September 2015). Sustainable Energy Action Plan for The Gambia.
Government of The Gambia (2012). Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions.
Government of The Gambia (2017). Nationally Determined Contribution
IRENA (2013). The Gambia: Renewables Readiness Assessment 2013
Ministry of Energy, Republic of the The Gambia (2013). Renewable Energy Act 2013
Ministry of Forestry and the Environment (MoFEN) (2012). The Gambia’s Second National Communication under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
Public Utilities Regulatory Authority - Matarr Touray (2014). Feed-in Tariffs: The Gambia Context
United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) (2012). Non-CO2 Greenhouse Gases: International Emissions and Projections.
UNFCCC (2015). Greenhouse Gas Inventory data – Detailed data by party.