Policies & action
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.
Further information on how the CAT rates countries (against modelled domestic pathways and fair share) can be found here.
The CAT estimates that, under current policies, Morocco’s emissions would reach 88 – 125 MtCO2e excluding LULUCF by 2030. This means that Morocco is likely to meet its unconditional target (i.e., target to be achieved without international financial support) by 2030. However, Morocco will only be able to achieve its conditional target if all planned policies are implemented. The international community will therefore need to provide financial support to help Morocco’s decarbonisation efforts.
Renewable energy targets are driving Morocco’s current emission reduction efforts. Despite its failure to meet its 2020 renewable energy target, Morocco decided to put forward an even more ambitious plan. It currently aims to increase renewable energy capacity to 52% of its electricity mix by 2030. In December 2021, Morocco submitted its LTS to the UNFCCC, where it further committed to increase the share of renewable energy in the electricity mix to 80% by 2050.
Despite delays in building several key solar power plants, Morocco is ramping up efforts to increase renewable energy capacity with many projects on track to start before 2025. However, considering that renewable energy amounted to 30% of electricity capacity in 2020, Morocco will need to keep increasing the roll out of renewable projects to meet its 2030 target.
Morocco is also seeking to decarbonise other key sectors of its economy, including the phosphate industry and the agricultural sector. The government also recently released a roadmap highlighting how green hydrogen could consolidate Morocco’s energy transition while supporting decarbonisation efforts in other countries. Increasing renewable energy generation will therefore be crucial to help position Morocco itself as a leader in green hydrogen.
Despite these ambitious planned policies, Morocco still relies heavily on coal and has recently unveiled plans to expand fossil gas infrastructure, casting doubt over the country’s ability to achieve its NDC target. Continued reliance on coal and further gas expansion risks locking the country into a high-carbon pathway.
In Glasgow, a number of sectoral initiatives were launched to accelerate climate action. At most, these initiatives may close the 2030 emissions gap by around 9% - or 2.2 GtCO2e, though assessing what is new and what is already covered by existing NDC targets is challenging.
For methane, signatories agreed to cut emissions in all sectors by 30% globally over the next decade. The coal exit initiative seeks to transition away from unabated coal power by the 2030s or 2040s and to cease building new coal plants. Signatories of the 100% EVs declaration agreed that 100% of new car and van sales in 2040 should be electric vehicles, 2035 for leading markets. On forests, leaders agreed “to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030”. The Beyond Oil & Gas Alliance (BOGA) seeks to facilitate a managed phase out of oil and gas production.
NDCs should be updated to include these sectoral initiatives, if they're not already covered by existing NDC targets. As with all targets, implementation of the necessary policies and measures is critical to ensuring that these sectoral objectives are actually achieved.
|MOROCCO||Signed?||Included in NDC?||Taking action to achieve?|
|Forestry||Yes||Yes – 2021 update or earlier||Yes|
|Beyond oil and gas||No||N/A||N/A|
- Methane pledge: Morocco signed the methane pledge at COP26. Methane represented 16% of total emissions (including LULUCF) in 2018 and is mainly concentrated in the agricultural and waste sectors (Kingdom of Morocco, 2022b). Morocco’s 2021 NDC does not have explicit reduction targets for non-CO2 gases. However, planned mitigation measures in the agricultural sector are expected to have an impact on overall methane emissions (see section on Agriculture).
- Coal exit: Morocco endorsed clauses 1, 3 and 4 of the coal exit at COP26, agreeing to cease permit issuance or construction of new coal-fired plants (UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), 2021). However, it has not committed to the coal phase-out by 2040 (clause 2). The country still heavily relies on coal and has one of the most coal-intensive power sectors in the world, with around 600 tonnes of CO2 emitted per GWh in 2020 (World Bank, 2022).
- 100% EVs: Morocco adopted the electric vehicle (EV) pledge at COP26. While it did not commit to the 2040 target, Morocco agreed to accelerate the proliferation and adoption of zero-emissions vehicles. However, the government has yet to release a concrete EV strategy.
- Forestry: Morocco signed the Leaders’ declaration on forest and land use at COP26. While its 2021 NDC does not contain specific targets, the Moroccan government recently released the Forests of Morocco 2020–2030 plan (Kingdom of Morocco, 2020a). The strategy set the target to plant 50,000 hectares of new forests across the country every year until 2030.
- Beyond oil and gas: Morocco has not joined the “Beyond Oil & Gas” initiative to end oil and gas exploration and production. In 2022, the government has announced plans to start offshore fossil gas exploration (Maroc Diplomatique, 2022)
Despite its vast renewable energy potential, Morocco still heavily relies on coal. In 2021, 82% of Morocco’s electricity mix was made up of non-renewable sources, a majority of which is derived from coal (IRENA, 2022a). The Moroccan government has until recently continued to invest in the expansion of existing coal infrastructure, with total generating capacity amounting to 4 GW in 2021 (World Bank, 2022). For example, the extension of the Jorf Lasfar Coal Park, a 2.05 GW coal capacity storage park, was commissioned in 2022 (Calik, 2022b).
Morocco has also taken steps to extend the lifetime of several coal plants. In January 2020, the Moroccan Electricity and Water Utility Company, also known as ONEE, extended its power purchasing agreement (PPA) at the same power plant by another 17 years — from 2027 to 2044 (Industry Projects & Technology, 2020).
Morocco has endorsed clauses 1, 3 and 4 of the coal exit pledge at COP26, agreeing to cease permit issuance or construction of new coal-fired plants. However, it has not committed to the coal phase-out by 2040 (clause 2). Power generation needs to be decarbonised well before 2050 in order to achieve the 1.5°C Paris Agreement temperature goal. Coal, in particular, needs to be phased out from power generation worldwide by around 2030 in pathways that limit global temperature increase to 1.5°C (Boehm et al., 2022).
Fossil gas plays an increasing role in Morocco’s energy system. In 2017, fossil gas accounted for 18% of Morocco’s total electricity generation (IEA, 2019), and the government intends to further expand fossil gas generated power.
In 2022, the Moroccan government unveiled plans to build four LNG ports, including transport and storage facilities (Gómez, 2022). This announcement came after Algeria halted gas supply via the Maghreb–Europe pipeline, amid diplomatic tensions between the two countries (S&P Global, 2022). To make up for the shortfall, the government decided to start importing LNG from global markets via Spain. Since Morocco doesn’t have any LNG terminals, shipments are sent to Spain to be degasified, then back to Morocco via the same Maghreb–Europe pipeline (L’Opinion, 2023).
With a view to reducing its reliance on gas imports, Morocco has recently opened its the door to offshore fossil gas exploration (Maroc Diplomatique, 2022). However, to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement, no new investments should be made into fossil gas exploration and production.
Morocco’s 2021 NDC also sets out plans to build additional combined-cycle gas turbine power plants, which would amount to 450 MW by 2030 (Kingdom of Morocco, 2021a).
Morocco’s renewable energy target is the core of its current emissions reduction efforts. The country’s renewable energy capacity amounted to 3.5 GW in 2021. The government set the target to extend the share of renewable electricity capacity to 42% by 2020 and to 52% by 2030 (made up of 20% solar, 20% wind and 12% hydropower) (Kingdom of Morocco, 2016a, 2021a).
Morocco began renewable energy developments in the 2010’s, but the pace has recently slowed down. While, in absolute terms, renewable energy capacity doubled between 2015 and 2020 (IRENA, 2021), it was not enough to reach the government’s 2020 target. Renewable energy only amounted to 30% of Morocco’s electricity capacity in 2020 (IRENA, 2022b). This was partly due to an even higher increase in the share of non-renewable energy capacity in the same period. It should also be noted that aside from wind power, no additional renewable energy capacity was built in 2019 or 2020 (IRENA, 2022a).
However, renewable energy remains the pillar of Morocco’s decarbonisation efforts. On 21 December 2021, the Moroccan government published its Long-Term Strategy, committing to increase the share of renewable energy in the electricity mix to 80% by 2050 (Government of Morocco, 2021b). Morocco will need to considerably increase the rollout of renewable projects to meet its targets.
Solar power is the main pillar of Morocco’s renewable energy strategy, largely because of the country’s high solar energy potential. The 2030 National Solar Plan, which is included in the 2021 NDC, now aims to reach a total capacity equivalent to 4 GW by 2030.
The 2020 national Solar Plan initially aimed to increase installed solar power capacity (PV and CSP) to 2 GW by 2020. However, the government failed to achieve its target, with installed solar power capacity only amounting to 0.7 MW in 2020 (IRENA, 2022c). Despite this, the Moroccan government decided to set new, more ambitious targets.
The Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (MASEN) is at the forefront of the government’s efforts to scale up renewable energy capacity in the country (a role previously assumed by ONEE). MASEN currently oversees the roll out of several solar power projects. However, several key projects were delayed, casting doubts over Morocco’s capacity to reach the targets it set for itself in the 2030 National Solar Plan.
In May 2019, MASEN announced it had awarded the contract for the 800 MW Noor Midelt project. However, the solar plant, which was meant to be completed by 2022, will only start operating in 2024 (Bellini, 2019; Calik, 2022a).
According to the Moroccan Ministry of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development, installed solar power capacity should increase by 0.8 GW in 2023, as several projects are expected to start operations before the end of the year. On top of that, Morocco plans to add 1 GW of installed capacity in 2024 (Kingdom of Morocco, 2023c).
As part of the 2030 National wind plan, Morocco currently aims to reach a total wind power capacity of 2.2 GW by 2030 (Kingdom of Morocco, 2021a). To that end, four wind farms are planned to start operating in 2023 and 2024 (Calik, 2022a). An additional 10 wind power projects are expected to start in the 2022–2025 period, with a total capacity over 900 MW (Calik, 2022a; Kingdom of Morocco, 2023a).
In a 2019 report the World Bank highlighted Morocco’s considerable offshore wind energy potential, which it estimated could amount to 200 GW (22 GW fixed and 178 GW floating) (World Bank, 2019).
In the Morocco Integrated Wind Energy Program, the government initially aimed to increase wind farm capacity from 800 MW in 2015 to 2 GW by 2020 (Government of Morocco, 2016a). Despite steady progress, Morocco did not reach its target, with the country’s installed wind power capacity only amounting to 1.4 GW in 2020 (IRENA, 2022c). However, it should be noted that wind power is the only renewable energy source in Morocco which was further expanded in 2019 and 2020, reaching a total capacity of 1435 MW in 2021 (IRENA, 2022c). This programme is assumed to be part of the current policy projections since its implementation is on track.
As of 2021, Morocco’s installed hydropower capacity totalled 1.8 GW (IRENA, 2022c). In its updated NDC, the government set the goal of installing an additional 1.1 GW of hydropower capacity by 2030 (Kingdom of Morocco, 2021a). Three pumped storage hydropower plants are under construction, each with a capacity of 300 MW. They are expected to start operating between 2027 and 2029 (Kingdom of Morocco, 2023b).
Morocco’s vast renewable energy potential makes it attractive as a potential supplier of green hydrogen (Finance News Hebdo, 2021). The government intends to invest in green hydrogen to consolidate its energy transition and support decarbonisation efforts in other countries.
In 2021, the Moroccan National Hydrogen Commission unveiled a new roadmap, which expects demand for green hydrogen to reach between 14 TWh and 30 TWh by 2030, and between 156 TWh and 307 TWh by 2050 (Kingdom of Morocco, 2021b). The government estimates that this would require an additional 2 GW in renewable energy sources. Morocco would therefore need to focus its efforts on increasing renewable energy generation, if it hopes to position itself as a leader in green hydrogen.
The roadmap estimates that development of green hydrogen could lead to between 10 MtCO2e to 20 MtCO2e of emissions reductions in Morocco (Kingdom of Morocco, 2021b).
Morocco is one of the world’s leading exporters of phosphate, which, together with cement, accounts for more than three quarters of total emissions from the industry sector (Kingdom of Morocco, 2022b).
Morocco’s Third Biennial Report submitted to the UNFCCC spells out several mitigation measures in the phosphate sector (Kingdom of Morocco, 2022b). If all these policies are implemented, cumulative avoided emission could amount to 41 MtCO2e between 2020 and 2030. These include the following:
- Covering all electricity needs of the industry with renewable energy sources and cogeneration
- Substituting 30% of the fuel oil used for phosphate drying by solar energy (starting in 2028)
- Implementing a carbon capture and utilisation project from phosphate stacks in 2024 (with a capture rate of 20% to reach 100% in 2028)
The transport sector accounts for 38% of Morocco’s total final energy consumption (Kingdom of Morocco, 2022b). In recent years, the Moroccan government has sought to expand and improve its public transportation system. In November 2018, Morocco inaugurated a high-speed train line connecting the capital Rabat to Tangier and Casablanca (AFD, 2018).
Several projects are currently underway. While the Rabat Salé Tramway Company announced the finalisation of an extension in Rabat in February 2022 (TramwayRS, 2022), Casablanca Transport is currently extending two new tramway lines (Railway Pro, 2021; Moovit, 2022). The government also plans to expand the tramways in Rabat and Casablanca by 2025. Similar extensions are planned in the cities of Marrakech, Fez, Tangier and Agadir, although actual implementation has yet to start.
From January 2023, Morocco put in place Euro 6 vehicle emissions standards, which tighten limits on air pollutant emissions, to all new vehicles sold in the Moroccan market (Le Matin, 2021).
Through its National Energy Efficiency Strategy, the Moroccan government is seeking to reduce energy consumption in key sectors of its economy. Morocco currently aims for a 24% energy consumption reduction in the transport sector (Kingdom of Morocco, 2020b).
The market share of electric vehicles (EV) remains extremely low, but the Moroccan government has taken steps to increase their uptake. It installed charging stations on the highway between Tangier and Agadir. An EV plant was recently built in the city of Kenitra, making Morocco the first North African country with the capacity to produce EVs (Tanchum, 2021). The government has also announced plans to build an electric battery factory in the Casablanca region (Ortiz, 2022).
Morocco’s Exemplary Administration Plan aims to have 30% of the government’s state fleet be ecological vehicles (hybrid or electric) (Kingdom of Morocco, 2021a). However, the government has yet to set up concrete national targets or release an EV strategy.
Agriculture is an important component of the Moroccan economy, representing 12.5% of GDP and employing 37% of its workforce (Kingdom of Morocco, 2021a). It is also the second largest emitting sector in Morocco, accounting for 23% of all emissions in 2018 (excluding LULUCF). The agriculture sector emitted around 18 MtCO2e in 2010 and 20 MtCO2e in 2021 (Gütschow et al., 2022). The main source of emissions is agricultural land (52.5% in 2018), followed by enteric fermentation (39,6% in 2018) (Kingdom of Morocco, 2022b).
In 2020, the government set out its new agricultural policy in the Green Generation Strategy 2020-2030 (Kingdom of Morocco, Ministry of Agricultural, Fisheries, Rural Development, 2020), replacing the previous Morocco Green Plan. The new strategy aims to double the share of the agricultural sector in Morocco’s GDP and create 350,000 new jobs.
There is a limited number of policies targeted at climate change mitigation in this sector, as the plan mostly focuses on enhancing the resilience and adaptability of the Moroccan agricultural sector. The mitigation measures mostly consist of increasing plantations (e.g. of olive and citrus trees, date palms, cactus etc.), preventing soil erosion and developing solar water pumping systems (Kingdom of Morocco, 2021a). However, no information on the state of their implementation is currently available.
The National Energy Efficiency Strategy also targets the agricultural sector (together with maritime fishing), and aims for 13.5% energy consumption reduction by 2030 (Kingdom of Morocco, 2020b).