Morocco has taken several positive steps on climate action, including a substantially enhanced NDC in 2021. However, it remains heavily dependent on coal, and the government has announced plans to expand fossil gas infrastructure. It needs to commit to a coal phase out if it hopes to achieve the conditional NDC target but would need international support to do so. Considering the climate policies put in place by the government, we estimate Morocco’s emissions will flatten until 2030, which would enable the country to meet its unconditional NDC target. With this update, the CAT continues to rate Morocco’s climate targets and actions as “Almost sufficient”.
Morocco has not yet submitted a new NDC despite all countries having been invited to do so before COP27. However, its latest, 2021 NDC update significantly strengthened both its conditional and unconditional emissions reduction targets. The CAT estimates that Morocco’s updated NDC would lead to 84 and 118 MtCO2e (excluding LULUCF) in 2030 under its conditional and unconditional targets respectively, down from 107 and 145 MtCO2e under its original NDC. Morocco is on track to meeting its unconditional NDC target, but it needs additional support and measures to meet its conditional NDC.
Positive recent climate developments in Morocco include:
- A commitment to halt the development of new coal-fired power plants at COP26
- The ramping up of decarbonisation efforts in key sectors of the Moroccan economy, with new policies planned for the phosphate industry and the agricultural sector
- The release of the National Energy Efficiency Strategy, which seeks to reduce energy consumption in key sectors of the Moroccan economy, including a 24% energy consumption reduction in the transport sector
To continue improving its climate action, Morocco could:
- Commit to a rapid coal phase-out from the power mix, with support from the international community
- Strengthen its renewable energy targets to ensure that they are in line with the 1.5°C limit of the Paris Agreement
- Stop investing in coal and fossil gas
The government’s renewable energy targets remain the core of the country’s decarbonisation efforts. Morocco currently aims to increase renewable energy capacity to 52% of its electricity mix by 2030. The country pioneered renewable energy developments in the 2010’s, but the pace has recently slowed down, with solar capacity additions stalling in 2019 and 2020. Considering that renewable energy amounted to 30% of electricity capacity in 2020, Morocco will need to considerably increase the roll out of renewable projects to meet its 2030 target.
Morocco’s electricity mix remains heavily dominated by coal, with lifetime extensions recently planned for key coal-fired plants. At COP26, Morocco agreed to cease permit issuance and construction of new plants but has not committed to a coal phase-out. On top of that, the government has recently unveiled plans to expand fossil gas infrastructure. In 2022, Algeria recently halted gas supply via the Maghreb-Europe pipeline, which previously accounted for all of Morocco’s gas imports. As a result, Morocco is now building LNG terminals to accommodate imports via Spain. Morocco has also opened its doors to offshore gas exploration.
These developments pose a significant threat to Morocco’s decarbonisation plans and risk locking the country into a high-emissions pathway. International support will therefore be key to help Morocco make the best of its vast renewable energy potential and ditch fossil gas and coal once and for all.
The CAT rates Morocco’s climate targets and policies as “Almost sufficient”. The “Almost sufficient” rating indicates that Morocco’s climate policies and commitments are not yet consistent with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature limit but could be with moderate improvements.
Morocco’s policies and unconditional target meet its fair-share contribution to limiting warming to 1.5°C. Morocco’s conditional target, to be achieved with international support, is almost, but not yet compatible with 1.5°C of warming and needs to be strengthened. Morocco would need international support to implement additional policies and go slightly beyond its current conditional target.
We rate Morocco’s policies and actions as “1.5°C compatible” compared to its fair share contribution. The “1.5°C compatible” rating indicates that Morocco’s climate policies and action are consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C. Morocco’s climate policies and action do not require other countries to make comparably deeper reductions. When compared to modelled domestic pathways, the policies and action are not yet sufficient for getting on a decarbonisation pathway. Morocco should embark on such a pathway—with international support.
Morocco has put forward a detailed list of measures it will deploy to reach its updated NDC target issued in June 2021, separated into conditional and unconditional measures, with many of them already under implementation. While there is some evidence of implementation underway, particularly for renewable energy projects, there is overall limited information available to assess progress.
However, recent developments could jeopardise long-term decarbonisation and lead to either a lock-in of emissions or stranded assets.
The Moroccan government recently unveiled plans to expand gas infrastructure and has opened its doors to offshore gas exploration. On top of that, Morocco still relies heavily on coal. In 2021, 82% of Morocco’s electricity mix was made up of non-renewable sources, a majority of which is derived coal (IRENA, 2022a).
Our range of emissions under current policies does not include the expansion of fossil gas infrastructure which would shift emissions up, and Morocco could potentially lose the “1.5°C compatible” rating for its policies and actions.
The full policies and action analysis can be found here.
We rate Morocco’s conditional NDC target as “Almost Sufficient” when compared with modelled domestic emissions pathways. The “Almost Sufficient” rating indicates that Morocco’s internationally supported target in 2030 is not yet consistent with the 1.5°C temperature limit but could be, with moderate improvements. If all countries were to follow Morocco’s approach, warming could be held below—but not well below—2°C.
We rate the unconditional NDC reduction target as “Almost sufficient” when compared with its fair share contribution to climate action. The “Almost sufficient” rating indicates that Morocco’s unconditional target against fair share in 2030 is not yet consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C but could be, with moderate improvements. Morocco’s target would require 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.
We have revised our previous assessment to exclude the LULUCF mitigation measures planned in the agricultural sector. This resulted in a change in the rating of the unconditional target against fair share (from “1.5°C compatible” to “Almost sufficient”) but did not have an impact on the overall rating of Morocco.
The CAT does not yet evaluate Morocco’s net zero target given its preliminary nature and lack of more detailed information. The CAT will do so once further information is communicated by the government.
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