On 30 September 2015, The Gambia submitted its Intended National Determined Contribution (INDC), offering to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, excluding the land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) sector, by 1.42 MtCO2e. This is equivalent to a 44.4% reduction in 2025 below a low business as usual scenario (BAU), excl. LULUCF. The Gambia is offering to reduce emissions 0.079 MtCO2e in 2025 unilaterally, with an additional 1.34 MtCO2e, conditional on the availability of international financial and technical support.
In addition, The Gambia’s INDC also includes abatement in the LULUCF sector: it plans to unilaterally abate 0.28 MtCO2e by 2025 through afforestation. The Gambia has also pledged 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 CAT rates INDCs only on unconditional targets excl. LULUCF. Since The Gambia submitted its unconditional pledge with a commitment till 2025, the CAT rates the INDC “sufficient.” This means that, in taking the year 2025 as reference, The Gambia is doing its “fair share” of global efforts to hold warming below 2°C. The 2030 indicative emissions levels presented in their INDC fall however in the “medium” range, so if no policies are implemented towards the conditional target, The Gambia’s rating could change to “medium.”
The INDC indicated that there are low and medium emissions BAU scenarios. This INDC is relative to the low emissions BAU scenario. However, if it was relative to a medium emissions BAU scenario, the INDC may be rated “medium”. In this case, The Gambia’s climate actions would not be consistent with limiting warming below 2°C unless other countries make deeper reductions and comparably greater effort.
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. Provided it gets financial and technical support, The Gambia would, in 2030, still be doing its “fair share” of global efforts to reduce global warming below 2°C.
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 will contribute to an emissions level of 2.1 MtCO2e excl. LULUCF in 2030, which is equivalent to 45.4% below a low BAU scenario.
Since the current energy system in The Gambia has become a burden on the 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 The Gambia on track to meet its unconditional target.
To meet its conditional target and give confidence to international investors, the 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 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 rapid implementation of its conditional INDC providing international financial resources are mobilised.
On 30 September 2015, The Gambia submitted its INDC, with the aim of unconditionally reducing GHG emissions excluding the LULUCF sector by 0.079 MtCO2e in 2025. 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 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 (based on international support).
The INDC indicated that there are low and medium emissions BAU scenarios. The INDC is relative to the low emissions BAU scenario. According to its INDC,, 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 are not 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, The Gambia was not required to provide a quantitative target under the Lima Call for Action. Nonetheless, it endeavoured to complete a detailed INDC to help drive developed countries to undertake actions proportional to their global responsibilities and capabilities.
We rate The Gambia’s INDC “sufficient” based on its unconditional target for the year 2025. The pledge is in line with effort sharing approaches that focus on equal cumulative and equal per capita emissions. The “sufficient” rating indicates that The Gambia’s unconditional climate actions for 2025 are consistent with limiting warming to below 2°C. If The Gambia does not implement polices to reduce its emissions until 2030 it would be rated “medium”.
The INDC indicated that there are low and medium emissions BAU scenarios. This INDC is relative to the low emissions BAU scenario. However, if it was relative to a medium emissions BAU scenario, the INDC could be rated “medium”. If this were the case, The Gambia’s climate actions would not be consistent with limiting warming below 2°C unless other countries make much deeper reductions and comparably greater effort.
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 INDC, there are no other recent reliable projections for The Gambia, thus CAT could not refer to other independent data sources. Historical data quality is also poor.
The Gambia’s historical emissions are taken from the INDC, 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 INDC projections in 2030. We therefor do not consider this dataset further.
We found a mismatch of 4 MtCO2e between the INDC and a previously submitted by The Gambia for 2005 and 2010 (Government of the The Gambia 2012), which included projections based on US EPA data sources. Since the INDC 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 INDC submission. This INDC 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, The Gambia’s emissions are projected to grow by 3% annually until 2030, whereas in their last submitted NAMA (Government of the The Gambia (2012)), The Gambia’s emissions were projected to grow annually by 2% till 2030. These projections were based on US EPA (US EPA, 2012). Since the INDC 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 INDC 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 INDC 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.
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.