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What is Ethiopiaʼs 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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Ethiopiaʼs total GHG emissions

excl. LULUCF MtCO₂e/yr

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Displayed values
Reference year
−100 %−50 %0 %50 %100 %150 %200 %250 %200020202040206012345
  • 1.5°C compatible pathways
  • Middle of the 1.5°C compatible range
  • Current policy projections
  • 1.5°C emissions range
  • Historical emissions
  1. 1
    1.5°C emissions level
    −22 %
  2. 2
    NDC (conditional)
    +75 %
  3. 3
    NDC (unconditional)
    +200 %
  4. 4
    Ambition gap
    −97 %
  5. 5
    Reference year
Key messages

Ethiopia’s NDC was updated in 2020, and is conditional on international support. Under this new target its emissions would increase to 75% above 2015 levels or to 213 MtCO2e/yr by 2030, excluding LULUCF.1

1 Climate Action Tracker. Ethiopia | Climate Action Target Update Tracker. (2020).

2 GERD Coordination Office. Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). (2020).

3 Government of Ethiopia. Climate-Resilient Green Economy Strategy. (2011).

4 Government of Ethiopia. Ethiopia’s Climate Resilient Green Economy National Adaptation Plan. (2019).

5 IEA. Ethiopia: Key Energy Statistics. (2018).

6 Climate Action Tracker. Ethiopia | Climate Action Target Update Tracker. (2020).

7 Government of Ethiopia. Summary of Ethiopia’s Updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). (2020).

8 Government of Ethiopia. The Second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II) Midterm Review Report. (2018).

9 Government of Ethiopia. Draft National Energy Policy (March 2021). (Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy, 2021).

10 World Nuclear News. Ethiopia, Russia extend cooperation in nuclear energy. Nuclear Policies. (2019).

11 Government of Ethiopia. Ethiopia 2030: The Pathway to Prosperity Ten Years Perspective Development Plan (2021-2030). (2020).

12 Government of Ethiopia. Growth and Transformation Plan II (GTP II). (2016).

13 National Green Development. Stats – National Green Development. (2021).

14 Beyene, G. E., Kumie, A., Edwards, R. & Troncoso, K. Opportunities for transition to clean household energy in Ethiopia Application of the WHO Household Energy Assessment Rapid Tool (HEART). (2018).

15 N Scott, T Jones & S Batchelor. Ethiopia; Cooking transitions: An analysis of Multi-Tier Framework Data for insights into transitions to modern energy cooking. (2020).

16 Ethiopian Electric Power. Power Generation. (2020).

17 Government of Ethiopia. Ethiopia’s Climate Resilient Green Economy National Adaptation Plan. (2019).

18 IEA. Ethiopia coal demand and production by scenario, 2010-2040. (2020).

19 IPCC. Climate Change 2007: Mitigation of Climate Change. Contribution of Working Group III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (2007).

20 Global Energy Monitor. Global Coal Plant Tracker Database (July). Global Energy Monitor. (2020).

21 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 which developed countries will need to implement in order to counterbalance their remaining emissions and reach net zero GHG are not considered here due to data availability.

22 NDC indicates that forestry covers land and managed soils.

23 For example, it is difficult to prepare Injera, Ethiopia’s staple on a gas or electric cooker.

24 A review of GTPII is still underway. This will shed light on the current situation after the end of the GTP II in 2020 and provide a basis for GTPIII or a successor framework.

Current policies projections indicate that Ethiopia is on track to meeting its NDC.

With international support, Ethiopia will be able to implement its domestic emissions pathway and close the gap between its fair share level and domestic emissions level. Paris compatible pathways show emissions reductions of 10-37% below 2015 levels or 76-110 MtCO2e/yr by 2030 excluding LULUCF.

Even though the country aims to become ‘carbon neutral’, it has not yet announced a net zero CO2 target year. Its Low Emission Development Strategy is under development.6

1.5°C compatible pathways show GHG emissions reductions, excluding LULUCF, by 22% (10-37%) below 2015 levels by 2050.21

Emissions reductions measures will need to focus on high emitting sectors such as energy, agriculture, particularly livestock, and biomass for cooking. Intensifying its electrification programme for end-use sectors will be one of the key policy areas to steer emissions reductions both in the energy sector and the LULUCF sector.

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Key messages

Ethiopia has set a target of lowering its energy emissions by 117 MtCO2e by 2030, including energy-related biomass emissions which accounted for around 88% of the primary energy mix in 2017.1

While Ethiopia already benefits from a close to fully decarbonised power sector with already 100% of domestically produced electricity from renewable energy, the country plans on a renewable-based energy supply to meet the growing demand primarily based on hydropower source through the soon to be ready Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). While it will be the largest hydropower plant in Africa with 5 GW installed capacity, the country may have to plan on a combination of both hydro with variable renewables such as wind and solar to reduce sustainability concerns around additional hydropower.2

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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
  1. 2030 100 % Renewable share
  1. 2050 100 % Renewable share