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Current situation

What is Democratic Republic of the Congoʼs pathway to limit global warming to 1.5°C?

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Emissions profile

Land use, land-use change, and forestry (LULUCF) has consistently been by far the DRC’s largest emitting sector of greenhouse gases (GHG) followed by rapidly growing emissions from the waste sector. In 2018, about 75% of the DRC’s GHG emissions came from LULUCF, while the waste sector contributed about 23%.1 The remaining negligible amount was distributed between the energy sector with about 1%, the agriculture sector with 0.8%, and the industrial processes sector with 0.02%. CO₂ emissions make up the largest share of emissions (approximately 75% in 2018), followed by CH₄ (around 24%) and N₂O. If LULUCF is excluded, the three largest sources of emissions in the DRC are the waste, energy, and agriculture sectors representing respectively 92%, 5%, and 3% of total emissions excluding LULUCF in 2018.

In the DRC, the largest contributors to GHG emissions are forest land-use change, the burning of biomass, and the agricultural practice of burning savanna.2 In a business-as-usual (BAU) scenario, the rate of deforestation and degradation is likely to accelerate in the coming years due to the expected population growth and the socio-economic development of the country.3

1 Democratic Republic of the Congo. Contribution Déterminée à l’échelle Nationale révisée. (2021).

2 African Development Bank. National Climate Change Profile: Democratic Republic of the Congo. (2018).

3 Ministère de l’Environnement et Développement Durable. Troisième Communication Nationale de la République Démocratique du Congo à la Convention Cadre sur le Changement Climatique. (2015).

4 African Energy Commission (AFREC). AFREC Africa Energy Balances 2019. (2019).

5 African Energy Commission (AFREC). Africa Energy Efficiency for the Residential Sector 2019. (2019).

6 United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Atlas of Africa Energy Resource. (2017).

7 Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC). Democratic Republic of the Congo. (2019).

8 International Energy Agency (IEA). Data and statistics: Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2018. (2022).

9 Radio France Internationale. RDC: l’immense enjeu et problème de l’accès à l’électricité. (2019).

10 World Bank. State and Trends of Carbon Pricing 2019. State and Trends of Carbon Pricing 2019 (2019). doi:10.1596/978-1-4648-1435-8.

11 Democratic Republic of the Congo. Contribution déterminée au niveau national de la République Démocratique du Congo. (2017).

12 IEA. Africa Energy Outlook 2019. (2019).

13 African Energy Commission (AFREC). AFREC Africa Energy Database. (2019).

14 The World Bank. World Development Indicators database. (2019).

15 Ministère du Plan. Fiche technique sur l’énergie. (2021).

16 Kusakana, K. A Review of Energy in the Democratic Republic of Congo. in International Conference on Desalination and Renewable Energy (ICDRE) (2016).

17 The assessment was made based on Figure 2 provided in DRC‘s 2021 NDC document.

18 See assumptions at https://1p5ndc-pathways.climateanalytics.org/methodology/#ndc_cod

19 Global cost-effective pathways assessed by the IPCC Special Report 1.5°C tend to include fossil fuel use well beyond the time at which these could be phased out, compared to what is understood from bottom-up approaches, and often rely on rather conservative assumptions in the development of renewable energy technologies. This tends to result in greater reliance on technological CDR than if a faster transition to renewables were achieved. The scenarios available at the time of this analysis focus particularly on BECCS as a net-negative emission technology, and our downscaling methods do not yet take national BECCS potentials into account.

Democratic Republic of the Congoʼs current GHG emissions

MtCO₂e/yr

Displayed values

By sector

  • Other
  • Fugitive emissions
  • Power
  • Transport
  • Industry (energy use)
  • Buildings
  • LULUCF
  • Waste
  • Agriculture
  • Industry (processes)
Energy (1%)75%0

By gas

  • CO₂
  • CH₄
  • N₂O
  • Other
075%0

Sectors by gas

Energy
067%0
Agriculture
00
Industry (processes)
0100%0

Energy system

The DRC’s energy sector accounted for around 5% of emissions in 2017 when excluding the LULUCF emissions. The sector is dominated by the domestic and industrial use of biofuels and waste which accounted for approximately 95% of total primary energy supply and 92% of total final consumption in 2017.4 Oil (2% or 849.76 Ktoe) and hydropower (2% or 815.31 Ktoe) accounted for the remaining total primary energy supply.4

The residential sector, in 2017, accounted for 69% (13049.30 Ktoe) of the DRC’s energy consumption followed by the commercial and public service sector at 25% (4689.72 Ktoe), the transport sector at 4% (826.86 Ktoe), and finally the industrial sector at 2% (414.84 Ktoe).4 Traditional biomass (firewood and charcoal) constituted 99% of the residential sector’s final energy consumption in 2017. Using biomass for energy contributes to deforestation in the DRC.5 Increasing electrification rate of end-use sectors and access to clean cooking options would significantly curb household biomass combustion, reduce fossil fuel usage, and improve indoor air quality.

In 2011, the DRC had an estimated 1,600 million barrels of proven recoverable oil reserves.6 Despite these significant oil reserves, the DRC has no oil refineries. Thus, the country exports all production and imports refined petroleum products, which were the country’s second largest import in 2019.7 There was no production, consumption, exportation or importation of coal and only 12 TJ of natural gas supply in 2018.8

In 2017, electricity comprised 3.6% of the total final energy consumption in the DRC.4 The vast majority of electricity is produced with hydropower. Though the DRC is considered to be among the top five countries with the largest hydroelectrical potential in the world, it has one of the lowest electricity access rates in the world.9

Targets and commitments

Economy-wide targets

Target type

Baseline scenario target

NDC target

  • Overall NDC targets a 21% GHG emission reduction below business-as-usual levels by 2030, of which 19% is conditional and 2% is unconditional
  • This translates to a conditional target of having emissions 92% above 2015 by 2030, or 275 MtCO₂e/yr (excl. LULUCF).

Market mechanism

  • The updated NDC doesn’t include market mechanisms. However, the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) has signed an emissions reduction purchasing agreement (ERPAs) with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for mitigation results from REDD+ activities in February 2019 making the DRC one of the first countries out of 19 that are part of the FCPF Carbon Fund to have signed ERPAs.10 The total value of the ERPA for the DRC is US$55 million with a goal to mitigate 10 MtCO₂e of emission by 2024.

Long-term target

  • As of January 2022, the DRC has not submitted its long-term strategy.

Sector coverage

EnergyWasteAgricultureLULUCF

Greenhouse gas coverage

CO₂CH₄N₂O

Sectoral targets

Energy

Total potential reduction of 74.2 to 94.6 MtCO₂e.

  • Electrify rural, peri-urban, and urban areas with renewable energy sources:
    • Hydropower from 3GW in 2020 to 4GW in 2030
    • Wind, solar and geothermal from 2.9 MW in 2020 to 42.7 MW in 2030
    • 8 to 10 units installed
  • Facilitate the use of improved cooking options and improve carbonisation techniques to make them more efficient.
    • Increase from 12-15% to 25-30% efficiency
    • 3 million households have improved cook stove units
  • Increase the share of renewable energy in the national energy mix.
    • Renewable Energy Act 2014 amended
    • Number of residences and institutions, manufacturing industries equipped with solar PV systems
  • Promote the use of LPG and electric cookstoves.
    • Number of households using biogas technologies, LPG; and briquettes made from agricultural residues or biodegradable household waste
  • Develop industrial plantations – wood energy.
    • 130,000 ha of energy plantations
  • Ensure the development of the transport sector with an emphasis on mass transport through trams, buses, trains, etc.
    • 10 urban centres (cities and towns) with traffic master plan
    • New public transport system (Bus, Rail, etc.);
    • Number of road, rail (interconnection), waterway and lake infrastructure built/rehabilitated;
    • Number of new low emission vehicle assembly units locally (in terms of technology transfer)

LULUCF

Total potential reduction of 182 to 192 MtCO₂e

  • Promote traditional and modern afforestation and reforestation techniques to preserve forests.
    • 760 thousand ha of forest restored
    • 15% of 7 million ha of marginal areas reforested
  • Support the development of community forestry as a tool to conserve biodiversity and combat the loss of forest cover in rural areas.
    • Number of awareness campaigns and extension of reduced impact logging (RIL)
  • Restore wetlands, especially peatlands used for agriculture and livestock.
    • Area of wetlands protected and/or restored
  • Enhance the MEOR (Methodology for Evaluation of Restoration Opportunities) tools on a national scale by integrating the use of traditional knowledge of biodiversity conservation around protected areas.
    • Number of training, awareness raising and outreach campaigns
  • Support the initiatives which allow for the implementation of the platform on forest and landscape restoration.
    • Legal texts setting up the platform on forest restoration
  • Strengthen forest governance, particularly in the fight against illegal timber logging and the exploitation of other forest resources, taking into account the studies, analyses and tools produced in the implementation of the various relevant forestry processes such as the VPA-FLEGT.
    • Existence of monitoring and enforcement mechanisms
  • Sustainable management of timber logging.
  • Sustainably manage and rehabilitate mining and oil operations.
    • Area of former mining and oil operations rehabilitated/restored in accordance with the Environmental Management Plan (EMP)
  • Combat bushfires.
    • Area of protected land
    • Existence of monitoring systems and a bushfire management plan
  • Mapping and assessing peatlands.
    • Existence of peatland area rental map

Waste

Total potential reduction of 37 MtCO₂e

  • Strengthen the institutional and legal framework for waste management.
    • Existence of legal texts regulating waste management
    • Implement a rational waste management programme.
    • Promote the use of landfill gas.
    • Promote energy recovery from waste (reduce CH₄ emissions from landfills).
    • Number of KWh produced from landfill gas recovery
    • Number of households with access to this technology
  • Promote aerobic composting.
  • Number of digesters available
  • Number of energy recovery plants other than landfill gas in different urban areas
  • Promote the production of energy and organic fertilizers from solid waste, wastewater, and faecal sludge.

Agriculture

Total potential reduction of 180 to 187 MtCO₂e

  • Promote agro-forestry practices and crop rotation and perennial crops especially in forest areas, including wetlands.
    • 1 million ha of irrigated areas developed and equipped
    • Approximately 150 farmers’ organisations and cooperatives established
    • Number of farmers using the good agricultural practices guide for fallow land management and the use of natural fertilisers
    • Number of awareness campaigns and agricultural extension per year
  • Integrate agriculture into the national land-use plan through the implementation of REDD+ strategy
    • Existence of land use planning policies
    • A national land use plan
  • Promote intensive agriculture in savannah areas to limit pressure on natural forests.
    • 1.6 million ha of land for intensive agricultural use developed
    • Number of farm households using livestock waste and by-products as biogas and natural fertiliser
  • Promote the rational and sustainable use of agricultural production areas to preserve agro-ecological conditions and ensure the stability of forest cover.
  • Intensify food crop production (carbohydrates, oilseeds, legumes) in anthropogenic savannahs and degraded forests, including in forest areas (except in areas where land availability makes it difficult to avoid at least partial destruction of the forest).
  • Outreach and disseminate resilient agricultural practices and other technological packages (use of climate-sensitive seeds, soil management and water management).
  • Improve the management of intensive and extensive livestock.
    • Number of farms and agroforestry systems
  • Intensify the production of cash crops in secondary or primary forests and savannahs, but with sustainable agroforestry systems (cocoa, coffee, banana, special crops) to enhance the comparative advantages of rural farmers for these crops.
    • Number of new plantations of perennial crops and agroforestry in savannah shrublands or savannah-forest mosaics
  • Dissemination and awareness-raising of good practices
    • Number of awareness raising and dissemination campaigns on good agricultural practices per year

Footnotes