The DRC’s 2017 INDC proposed only a conditional 17% GHG emissions reduction target below business-as-usual (BAU) levels by 2035. In contrast, the country’s 2021 NDC is composed of a 19% conditional and 2% unconditional GHG emission reduction target below BAU levels by 2030. If the 19% conditional target is translated using the reference year of 2015 then the target would be expressed as 92% above 2015 by 2030, or around 275 MtCO₂e/yr (excl. LULUCF). The NDC provides general mitigation actions which are intended to contribute to quantified emissions reduction targets but lacks a quantified breakdown for each mitigation action. Actions are listed for the energy, agriculture, LULUCF, and waste sectors. No actions are listed for the industrial processes sector as its contribution to the DRC‘s GHG emissions balance is minimal. Implementation of DRC’s NDC is conditional on financial support, with an estimated cost of 48.68 billion USD of which 25.60 billion USD would be needed for mitigation measures.
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 or 124 MtCO₂e/yr (excl. LULUCF) by 2030.
LULUCF is an important sector for the DRC, contributing 75% of 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 emissions. The largest share of CO₂ emissions comes from the LULUCF sector, driven mainly by deforestation. Energy is a minor source of emissions (1% in 2018 incl. LULUCF) in the country.
Long term pathway
As of January 2022, the DRC has not submitted its long-term strategy. 1.5°C compatible pathway indicates 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 be mostly 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.
LULUCF emissions account for the majority (75% in 2018) of the country’s emissions. In 2008, the DRC shifted from being a net carbon sink to a net carbon source. If significant action is not taken, the DRC could lose about 10% of its forest area by 2030 and 15-20% by 2050. Though the DRC is currently a net carbon source, its immense forest cover of around 152 million ha, in 2010, gives it the potential to become a sink again.