The Gambia is one of the rare developing countries in the world to propose an ambitious conditional target that would bend its emissions onto a downward trajectory. The unconditional target is also amongst the most ambitious: the CAT rates this commitment “1.5°C Paris Agreement compatible.”
In its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), the Gambia offers to conditionally reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, excluding the land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) sector, by 1.4 MtCO2e in 2025 compared to business-as-usual (BAU). This is equivalent to a 44.4% reduction below a “low BAU” scenario excluding LULUCF in 2025. The Gambia is offering to reduce emissions by 0.08 MtCO2e in 2025 (or 2.4%) below BAU unconditionally; the additional emission reductions are conditional on international finance and technical support.
In addition to the emission reduction targets for 2025, The Gambia’s NDC submission also mentions its emission reduction ambition for 2030, namely to unconditionally reduce emissions by 0.10 MtCO2e (or 2.7%) below BAU excluding LULUCF and to conditionally reduce emissions by 1.8 MtCO2e (or 45.4%) below BAU excluding LULUCF.
The Gambia’s NDC also includes abatement in the LULUCF and agriculture sectors: it plans to unconditionally abate 0.28 MtCO2e by 2025 and 0.33 MtCO2e by 2030 through afforestation as well as 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. The Gambia submitted its unconditional pledge with a 2025 emissions reduction commitment. The CAT assesses The Gambia’s 2025 NDC based on this pledge for 2025 and rates the NDC commitment “1.5°C Paris Agreement compatible.” The “1.5°C Paris Agreement compatible” rating indicates that The Gambia’s climate commitment in 2025 is consistent with holding warming well below 2oC, and limiting warming to 1.5°C. The Gambia’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. If the CAT were to rate the NDC based on The Gambia’s indicated 2030 emission reduction targets, the NDC would also be rated “1.5°C Paris Agreement compatible”.
The government has recognised that the transition to an affordable sustainable energy system is a critical milestone for the country’s socio-economic development as dependence on imported fuel oil has become a burden on the Gambian economy (IRENA, 2013). To ignite this 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 (Government of The Gambia, 2013). Due to a lack of recent information, some uncertainty exists about the current implementation status of this legislation (REN21, 2017).
To meet its conditional target and give confidence to international investors, the Gambian government announced, in its Sustainable Energy Action Plan (Government of The Gambia, 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 The 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 potentially rapid implementation of its conditional NDC given that international financial resources are mobilised.
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 (Government of The Gambia, 2016). The 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 emissions reductions of 0.10 MtCO2e excl. LULUCF, while the conditional actions would lead to a further 1.67 MtCO2e of abatement.
The 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, The Gambia is planning to abate a further 0.025 MtCO2e on its own, and another 0.32 MtCO2e subject to international support. The expected mitigation from these actions would result in an emission level of 1.75 MtCO2e excl. LULUCF in 2030, which is equivalent to 45.4% below a low BAU scenario.
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 on 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 sectoral mitigation targets with a description of recent policy instruments set in place for means of implementation, and for attracting international support.
We rate The Gambia’s NDC “1.5°C Paris Agreement compatible” based on its unconditional NDC target for 2025. The “1.5°C Paris Agreement compatible” rating indicates that The Gambia’s climate commitment in 2025 is consistent with holding warming well below 2oC, and limiting warming to 1.5°C. The Gambia’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. If the CAT were to rate the NDC based on The Gambia’s indicated 2030 emission reduction targets, the NDC would also be rated “1.5°C Paris Agreement compatible”.
If the CAT were to rate the Gambia’s projected emissions levels up to 2025 under current policies, the Gambiawould also be rated“1.5°C Paris Agreement compatible”.
For further information about the risks and impacts associated with the temperature levels of each of the categories click here.
A calculation error in fair share ranges update for The Gambia in September 2017 has been corrected in October 2017. This correction in calculations led to a change in the Gambia’s NDC rating for from “2°C compatible” to “1.5°C Paris Agreement compatible” even as the absolute values of the NDC emission targets in 2025 have not changed.
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 in 2030. This is equivalent to an increase of around three times above 1990 levels.
To achieve its conditional and unconditional NDC targets, the government aims to set up a framework for renewable energy development. In 2013, the Gambian Parliament passed the New Renewable Energy law (Government of The Gambia, 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). These tariffs are subject to adjustment based on local inflation and the dollar exchange rate. The new law establishes a renewable energy fund to develop renewable energy infrastructure, capacity building, research and development, local equipment production and promotion. No recent information is available on how much renewable energy capacity has been installed under the New Renewable Energy law as of August 2017.
To meet its conditional NDC targets, the Gambian government also announced a Sustainable Energy Action Plan in 2015 (Government of The Gambia, 2015), including the National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP) and the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan (NEEAP). The NREAP sets targets for renewable energy capacity deployment until 2020 and 2030 as well as the instalment of solar thermal systems. The NEEAP outlines measures to increase energy efficiency until 2030, including the gradual phase-out of incandescent bulbs and the instalment of efficient charcoal production technologies. No recent information is available on the current implementation status of either actions plan. Since these measures will be implemented only if The Gambia receives international funds and technical support, we do not include them in the current policy projections.
In 2012, the Gambian government proposed a list of ten NAMAs to be implemented in the energy, forestry, agriculture and waste sector (Government of The Gambia, 2012). As of August 2017, most of these NAMAs are still under development and seek support for implementation (NAMA Database, 2017; UNFCCC NAMA Database, 2017). Due to this uncertainty on their current implementation status, the proposed NAMAs have not been included in the current policy projections.
Besides the government’s projections in the NDC, there are no other recent emissions projections for The Gambia, thus CAT could not refer to other independent data sources. The quality of historical data is also poor (see ‘Assumptions’ section).
The Gambia’s historical emissions are taken from the NDC (Government of The Gambia, 2016), as it is the most recent governmental source.
The Second National Communication (Government of Gambia, 2012) and the UNFCCC GHG inventory data portal (UNFCCC, 2017) report a high level of emitted F-gases in 2000, equivalent to 17.3 MtCO2e, outweighing by more than four times the NDC projections in 2030. We therefore do not consider the historic dataset provided in the Second National Communication further. In addition, a mismatch of 4 MtCO2e exists between the data provision in the NDC and a previously submitted report on planned NAMAs in The Gambia for 2005 and 2010 (Government of The Gambia 2012). This report includes projections entirely based on US EPA data sources. Since the NDC is the most recent governmental source, we opted to use this latest data provisions.
The forestry data point for 2000 is taken from the UNFCCC GHG inventory data portal (2017).
The reference level used to evaluate the current policy projection is the BAU “low” 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 prospects 2012 medium fertility scenario was used. According to this, The Gambia’s emissions are projected to grow by 3% annually until 2030, whereas in their last submitted NAMA (Government of The Gambia, 2012), The Gambia’s emissions were projected to grow annually by 2% till 2030. These projections were entirely based on US EPA data provisions (US EPA, 2012). Since the NDC projections are the most recent, sector based, governmental projections for The 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 “low” BAU emissions in 2030. Conditionally proposed measures have not been accounted for in the current policy projections due to remaining uncertainty about their implementation conditional on international financial support. Since the Sustainable Energy Action Plan does 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. Similarly, we did not quantify the proposed energy efficiency targets of National Energy Efficiency Action Plan (NEEAP) due to uncertainty about the action plan’s current implementation status.
Government of Gambia. (2012). The Gambia’s Second National Communication under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Government of The Gambia (2012). Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions.
Government of The Gambia. (2013). Renewable Energy Act 2013.
Government of The Gambia. (2015). Sustainable Energy Action Plan for The Gambia.
Government of The Gambia. (2016). Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).
IRENA (2013). The Gambia: Renewables Readiness Assessment 2013
NAMA Database. (2017). Country profile for the Gambia.
Public Utilities Regulatory Authority - Matarr Touray (2014). Feed-in Tariffs: The Gambia Context
REN21. (2017). Renewables 2017. Global Status Report.
UNFCCC. (2017). UNFCCC GHG Emission Data Portal.
UNFCCC NAMA Database. (2017). Country profile for the Gambia.
United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) (2012). Non-CO2 Greenhouse Gases: International Emissions and Projections.