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Ambition gap

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

1.5°C compatible pathways

Egypt’s 2017 NDC provides a list of general mitigation actions rather than a quantified emissions reduction target. Actions are listed for the energy, agriculture, waste, industrial processes and oil and gas sectors, with a strong emphasis on energy. “Additional measures” for the LULUCF sector to increase carbon sequestration are also considered. Implementation of Egypt’s NDC is partly conditional on financial support, with an estimated cost of USD 73.04 billion (including adaptation measures).

Our analysis indicates that Egypt would need to put forward a new NDC, with an ambitious target to reduce emissions to 22% below 2015 levels or 244 MtCO₂e/year (excl. LULUCF) by 2030 to be 1.5˚C compatible. Egypt failed to submit an updated NDC ahead of COP26.

Long term pathway

In a Paris Agreement compatible pathway, Egypt’s GHG emissions (excl. LULUCF) reaches 110 MtCO₂e/year by mid-century, or 65% below 2015 levels. When excluding the contribution of the land sector, CO₂ emissions are reduced by 86% below 2015 levels by 2050, enabled by rapid decarbonisation of the power sector.12 Egypt does not have a net zero target and has not submitted a long-term strategy to the UNFCCC.

The industry and energy sectors would need to be the first to reach zero emissions, respectively. Remaining emissions from the agriculture and waste sectors will need to be balanced with negative CO₂ emissions through the deployment of carbon dioxide removals approaches, the need for which could be reduced by an accelerated uptake of renewables.

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 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.

13 In some of the analysed pathways, the power sector assumes already a certain amount of carbon dioxide removal technologies, in this case bioenergy carbon capture and storage (BECCS).

14 Note that the model High Energy Demand shows a slight decline in electricity consumption between 2020 and 2030 mainly due to modelling artefacts. Consistency with national context: The significant gap between the starting year of the first generation of scenarios of the IPCC SR1.5 used in this analysis and the present has at times led to distortions when downscaling these scenarios to the national level.

15 WRI‘s report, State of Climate Action, 2021.

Methodology

Egyptʼs total GHG emissions

excl. LULUCF MtCO₂e/yr

Displayed values
Reference year
−100%−80%−60%−40%−20%0%20%19902010203020502070
Reference year
2015
1.5°C emissions level
−23%
  • 1.5°C compatible pathways
  • Middle of the 1.5°C compatible range
  • Current policy projections
  • 1.5°C emissions range
  • Historical emissions
2030 emissions levels
1.5°C emissions level
Ref. year 2015
314MtCO₂e/yr

Energy system transformation

The decline of Egypt’s CO₂ emissions would need to come mainly from the decarbonisation of the country’s energy sector. Across analysed pathways, energy emissions are reduced by at least 40% below 2017 levels by 2030. The sector could be fully decarbonised in the 2040s. This requires the reduction of fossil fuel consumption from 95% of the primary energy mix in 2019 to 61–74% by 2030 and 5–21% by 2050. Renewable energy would need to ramp up from 5% in 2019 to 15–38% in 2030 and 50–84% in 2050.

Egypt’s NDC considers Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), co-utilisation of fossil fuels and biomass and co-generation plants as key technologies for energy system transformation and has expressed the desire to replace or upgrade obsolete technologies, including 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 in to high-cost, high-emission technologies.

Methodology

Egyptʼs primary energy mix

petajoule per year

Scaling
SSP1 Low CDR reliance
20192030204020504 0006 000
SSP1 High CDR reliance
20192030204020504 0006 000
Low Energy Demand
20192030204020504 0006 000
High Energy Demand - Low CDR reliance
20192030204020504 0006 000
  • Negative emissions technologies via BECCS
  • Unabated fossil
  • Renewables incl. Biomass
  • Nuclear and/or fossil with CCS

Egyptʼs total CO₂ emissions

excl. LULUCF MtCO₂/yr

−5005010015020025030019902010203020502070
  • 1.5°C compatible pathways
  • 1.5°C emissions range
  • Middle of the 1.5°C compatible range
  • Historical emissions

1.5°C compatible emissions benchmarks

Key emissions benchmarks of Paris compatible Pathways for Egypt. The 1.5°C compatible range is based on the Paris Agreement compatible pathways from the IPCC SR1.5 filtered with sustainability criteria. The median (50th percentile) to 5th percentile and middle of the range are provided here. Relative reductions are provided based on the reference year.

Reference year
Indicator
2015
Reference year
2019
2030
2040
2050
Year of net zero GHG
incl. BECCS excl. LULUCF and novel CDR
Total GHG
Megatonnes CO₂ equivalent per year
314
352
242
213 to 273
156
124 to 165
107
97 to 114
Relative to reference year in %
−23%
−32 to −13%
−50%
−61 to −47%
−66%
−69 to −64%
Total CO₂
MtCO₂/yr
231
261
198
154 to 209
91
44 to 124
33
16 to 88
2068
2058
Relative to reference year in %
−14%
−33 to −10%
−60%
−81 to −46%
−86%
−93 to −62%

Footnotes