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What is Ghanaʼs 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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Ghanaʼs total GHG emissions

excl. LULUCF MtCO₂e/yr

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Displayed values
Reference year
−100 %−80 %−60 %−40 %−20 %0 %20 %20002020204020601234
  • 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
    −21 %
  2. 2
    NDC (conditional)
    0 %
  3. 3
    Ambition gap
    −20 %
  4. 4
    Reference year
    2015
Key messages

Submitted in 2015, Ghana’s first NDC committed to a conditional target of reducing emissions by 45% relative to business as usual (BAU) emission levels in 2030.

1 Republic of Ghana. Ghana’s intended nationally determined contribution (INDC) and accompanying explanatory note. (2015).

2 Ministry of Energy, Government of Ghana. Ghana Renewable Energy Master Plan. (2019).

3 Ministry of Petroleum, Government of Ghana. Gas Master Plan Developed By Ministry of Petroleum. (2016).

4 Government of Ghana. Ghana’s Second Biennial Update Report. (2018).

5 Environmental Protection Agency of Ghana. Ghana’s Fourth National Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. (2019).

6 Environmental Protection Agency. Ghana’s Fourth National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. (2020).

7 African Development Bank. Climate Change Profile – Ghana. (2018).

8 IAEA. IAEA Reviews Progress of Ghana’s Nuclear Infrastructure Development | IAEA. (2019).

9 Values expressed in Global Warming Potentials from the Second Assessment Report (SAR).

10 While AFOLU as a sector is explicitly included in Ghana’s NDC, it is unclear if Agriculture is explicitly considered. As per a UNDP report, “A review of the NDCs to include the agriculture and industrial sectors will be necessary in increasing Ghana’s climate ambition under the Paris Agreement”. We assume here that Agriculture is already considered.

11 Ghana conditional NDC is 45% below BAU by 2030 which translates in 108% emissions reduction above 2010, base year provided in the NDC as reference for the BAU scenario. Ghana’s NDC covers all sectors of the economy including LULUCF. For the purpose of comparability, we assessed the NDC target excluding LULUCF emissions. Two methods are employed providing the range of the assessed NDC. The higher bound is based on the BAU projected by 2030 excluding LULUCF from the 4th National Communication converted to Global Warming Potentials AR4 using the ratio SAR/AR4 from the PRIMAP-Hist dataset and applying the conditional emissions reduction target of -45% below BAU by 2030.
The lower bound of the NDC is based on an estimated BAU excluding LULUCF scaled to 2012 historical year excluding LULUCF used in the analysis: PRIMAP-Hist 2019 dataset and in Global Warming Potentials AR4. We apply then the conditional NDC emissions reduction target of -45%.

Excluding LULUCF, this translates to an emissions increase of up to zero to 14% above 2015 levels (or 30-35 MtCO2e/yr) by 2030.1 The country is yet to update these commitments.

With international support, Ghana 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 levels of 22-29 MtCO2e/yr by 2030 or a reduction of 4-26% below 2010 levels by 2030, excluding LULUCF emissions.

To date, Ghana has not articulated a long-term or net zero strategy.

Long-term 1.5°C compatible pathways indicate that Ghana would need to reduce its GHG emissions to 15-21 MtCO2e/yr by 2050, which is equivalent to a 30-51% reduction in emissions compared to 2015, excluding LULUCF emissions.

On the road towards net zero, Ghana will need to balance its remaining positive emissions through the development of carbon dioxide removal approaches. Given the high level of LULUCF emissions in Ghana, this will mean reducing its land sector emissions to further contribute to negative emissions.

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Key messages

Ghana aims to increase its renewable energy capacity in the power mix from 43 MW in 2015 to 1364 MW in 2030.2 It has further committed to scale up the share of renewable energy in its national energy mix up to 10% by the same year.1

A 1.5°C pathway would require natural gas and oil — contributing 43% and 7% of power supply respectively in 2017 — to be phased out between 2029 and 2035. This will drive the full decarbonisation of power sector by 2035.

However, Ghana has indicated intentions to scale up its natural gas capacity — and possibly develop its first coal power plant.3 Combined with the recent USD 13.2 billion investment in the Jubilee, TEN and Sankofa gas fields, Ghana risks locking in high carbon infrastructure and creating stranded assets.4

While Ghana’s renewable energy commitments are encouraging, they fall far short of what is required to reach 1.5°C compatibility, which would need renewables to account for at least 92% of Ghana’s electricity mix by 2030, and 100% by 2040. Plans to upscale natural gas capacity further undermines Ghana’s future 1.5°C compatible emissions pathway.

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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
2030
  1. 2030 10 % Renewable share
  1. 2030 92 to 100% Renewable share
2035
  1. 2035-2038 Zero emissions power

Footnotes