Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) 2021 Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) targets a GHG emissions reduction of 21% below business-as-usual (BAU) levels by 2030 (incl. LULUCF) which is equivalent to a more than 50% increase above 2015 levels. The target is composed of a 19% conditional and 2% unconditional target. The conditional target translates into emissions reduction of 92% above 2015 by 2030, or 275 MtCO₂e/yr (excl. LULUCF).
The land use and forestry sector (LULUCF) is important for the DRC, contributing 75% of the country’s total emissions in 2018. When excluding LULUCF, emissions are predominantly driven by methane (95% in 2018) mostly due to the waste sector. When including LULUCF, the waste sector contributes 23% to total emission. The largest share of CO₂ emissions comes from the LULUCF sector, driven mainly by deforestation. Energy is a minor source of emissions in the country, contributing 1% to total emissions when including LULUCF.
In contrast to DRC’s conditional NDC target, when excluding LULUCF, 1.5°C compatible pathway indicates that the DRC’s domestic emissions reductions would need to be 14% below 2015 levels which translates to 124 MtCO₂e/yr (excl. LULUCF) by 2030.
With international support the DRC will be able to implement a 1.5°C compatible domestic emissions pathway and close the gap between the country’s fair share level and modelled domestic emissions level.
As of January 2022, the DRC has not submitted its Long-Term Strategy. Illustrative 1.5°C compatible pathways show that the DRC will need its GHG emissions (excl. LULUCF) to fall in the range of 9% to 51% below 2015 levels by 2050. When LULUCF emissions are excluded, these emissions reductions will mostly be driven by efforts in the waste sector, the major driver of CH₄ emissions, constituting the highest share (95% in 2018) of the country’s emissions.
The DRC has the world’s second-largest rainforest which could sequester most of the country’s carbon emissions. For example, shifting away from traditional biomass use in primary energy could steer emissions reductions in the LULUCF sector by reducing deforestation and sustaining land-based sinks.