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What is Egyptʼs pathway to limit global warming to 1.5°C?

In brief

This is a summary of the most important findings of our analysis. Get a brief overview over the most important figures and entry points into the various parts of the in depth analysis.

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Ambition gap

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Egyptʼs total GHG emissions

excl. LULUCF MtCO₂e/yr

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Displayed values
Reference year
−100 %−80 %−60 %−40 %−20 %0 %20 %200020202040206012
  • 1.5°C compatible pathways
  • Middle of the 1.5°C compatible range
  • Current policy projections
  • 1.5°C emissions range
  • Historical emissions
Legend
  1. 1
    1.5°C emissions level
    −25 %
  2. 2
    Reference year
    2015
Key messages

Egypt’s 2017 conditional NDC does not include an emissions reduction target. Instead, the NDC lists broad actions across the energy (including oil and gas), agriculture, waste, and industrial processes sectors to mitigate emissions.

1 Ministry of Environment. Egypt’s First Biennial Update Report to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. (2018).

2 Meighan, B. Egypt’s Natural Gas Crisis. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. (2016).

3 IMF. World Economic Outlook Update: April 2021. (2021).

4 Fahmy, H. Will the lights stay on in Egypt? Middle East Institute. (2020).

5 European Commission. New era in EU-Egypt energy cooperation. (2018).

6 Magdy, M. Egypt in Talks Over Plan to Sell Power to Europe and Africa. Bloomberg Quint. (2020).

7 Arab Republic of Egypt. Sustainable Development Strategy: Egypt Vision 2030. (2016).

8 IRENA. Renewable Energy Outlook Egypt: Executive Summary. (2018).

9 New and Renewable Energy Authority. Renewable Energy Targets.-

10 Global Energy Monitor. Map. Global Coal Plant Tracker

11 Target does not specify reference value.

12 While global cost-effective pathways assessed by the IPCC Special Report 1.5°C provide useful guidance for an upper-limit of emissions trajectories for developed countries, they underestimate the feasible space for such countries to reach net zero earlier. The current generation of models tend to depend strongly on land-use sinks outside of currently developed countries and include fossil fuel use well beyond the time at which these could be phased out, compared to what is understood from bottom-up approaches. The scientific teams which provide these global pathways constantly improve the technologies represented in their models – and novel CDR technologies are now being included in new studies focused on deep mitigation scenarios meeting the Paris Agreement. A wide assessment database of these new scenarios is not yet available; thus, we rely on available scenarios which focus particularly on BECCS as a net-negative emission technology. Accordingly, we do not yet consider land-sector emissions (LULUCF) and other CDR approaches.

Setting an emissions reduction target would be the first step towards a decarbonisation pathway. In order to be 1.5°C compatible, Egypt would need to peak its GHG emissions pretty much immediately and reduce its emissions by 25% below 2015 levels by 2030 so as to reach emissions levels of 221 MtCO2e/yr when excluding LULUCF in 2030.

To close its emissions gap, Egypt’s NDC states the needs for financial support from Annex I parties in addition to technology transfer and local capacity building. It is not clear whether Egypt intends to submit a revised NDC.

Egypt does not have a net zero target or long-term strategy. 1.5°C compatible pathways show emissions reductions of 57-70% by 2050 below 2015 levels when excluding LULUCF emissions.12 On the road to net zero, the country will need to balance remaining emissions through the use of carbon dioxide removal approaches, such as land sinks.

Achieving net zero CO2 will depend on the rapid decarbonisation of the power sector, as this is a catalyst for the decarbonisation of other sectors.

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Key messages

Fossil fuels accounted for 92% of Egypt’s power mix in 2017. Paris compatible pathways would require the power sector to be fully decarbonised by around 2040 and contribute to negative emissions thereafter.

This could be achieved through the phase out of natural gas in the power sector between 2036 and 2039. Egypt’s 2017 NDC includes fossil fuel options, such as carbon capture and storage (CCS) and upgrading fossil fuel plants. Considering the long lifetimes and decreasing competitiveness of fossil fuel plants, these measures come with the risk of stranded assets and locking into high-cost, high-emission technologies.

Decarbonisation of the power sector would need to be supported by a high uptake of renewable energy (including variable renewables, hydro and biomass), from a share of 8% in 2017 to 78–95% by 2030, and reaching 100% before 2050. This stands in strong contrast with the Egypt’s Integrated Sustainable Energy Strategy 2035 targeting a share of 42% in power generation by 2035, less than half-way through Paris compatible benchmarks.

Considering Egypt’s ambition to serve as a regional energy hub exporting electricity to other African countries and Europe, and these countries’ increasing appetite for renewable energy, Egypt would benefit from an expansion of renewables in their power sector.5,6

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Key power sector benchmarks

Renewables shares and year of zero emissions power Including the use of BECCS

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Current targets
Required targets
2022
  1. 2022 20 % Renewable share
2030
  1. 2030 78 to 95% Renewable share
2035
  1. 2035 42 % Renewable share
  1. 2035-2039 Zero emissions power
2040
  1. 2040 99 % Renewable share

Footnotes