With international support, Ghana could reduce its domestic emissions and close the gap between its fair share level and a 1.5°C aligned domestic emissions level. Paris Agreement compatible pathways show emissions levels of 19-27 MtCO₂e/yr by 2030 or a reduction of 14-39% below 2015 levels by 2030, excluding LULUCF missions. Ghana’s NDC target will need to be strengthened in order to align with 1.5°C compatible pathways.
Ghanaʼs total GHG emissions
excl. LULUCF MtCO₂e/yr
- 1.5°C compatible pathways
- Middle of the 1.5°C compatible range
- Current policy projections
- 1.5°C emissions range
- Historical emissions
Submitted in November 2021, Ghana’s updated NDC commits to an unconditional target of an absolute emissions reduction of 24.6 MtCO₂e (incl. LULUCF), and a conditional target of an absolute emissions reduction of 64 MtCO₂e (incl. LULUCF) by 2030.1 These reductions are assumed to be in relation to a business-as-usual (BAU) scenario, but the updated NDC does not specify this.
1 Environmental Protection Agency of Ghana. Ghana’s Fourth National Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. 2019.
2 Xinhua. Ghana committed to achieving net-zero carbon emission by 2070: VP. XINHAUNET.com english.news.cn/africa/20220929/08f760f69b9947a48d544e5cb423ddca/c.html (2022).
3 Xinhua. Ghana committed to achieving net-zero carbon emission by 2070 – Bawumia. News Ghana newsghana.com.gh/ghana-committed-to-achieving-net-zero-carbon-emission-by-2070-bawumia/ (2022).
4 Ministry of Petroleum, Government of Ghana. Gas Master Plan Developed By Ministry of Petroleum. 2016.
5 National Development Planning Commission. National Medium-Term Development Policy Framework 2022-2025. 2021.
6 Government of Ghana. Ghana’s Second Biennial Update Report. 2018.
7 Environmental Protection Agency and the Ministry of Environment, S. T. and I. Updated Nationally Determined Contribution under the Paris Agreement (2020 – 2030). 2021.
8 International Energy Agency. Ghana: Data Browser. International Energy Agency. 2022.
9 African Development Bank. Climate Change Profile – Ghana. 2018.
10 Environmental Protection Agency. Ghana’s Fourth National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. 2020.
11 Ministry of Energy, Government of Ghana. Ghana Renewable Energy Master Plan. 2019. Preprint at www.energycom.gov.gh/files/Renewable-Energy-Masterplan-February-2019.pdf
12 Environmental Protection Agency. Ghana’s Third Biennial Update Report to United Nations Climate Change. 2021.
13 Republic of Ghana. Drive Electric Initiative. 2019.
14 The Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN). CTCN in Ghana: Developing a national policy on e-mobility. The Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN). 2020.
15 Values expressed in Global Warming Potentials from the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4).
16 See calculations and assumptions here 1p5ndc-pathways.climateanalytics.org/methodology/#gha-ndc
17 The NDC articulates that emissions from selected extractive and manufacturing industries have not been included. Justification for this can be found on Page 14 of Ghana’s updated NDC.
Under a BAU scenario, a 201% increase in emissions compared to 1990 levels is anticipated by 2030 (a 73% increase since 2016).1
Long-term 1.5°C compatible pathways indicate that Ghana would need to reduce its GHG emissions to 12-20 MtCO₂e/yr by 2050, which is equivalent to a 37-62% reduction in emissions compared to 2015 levels, excluding LULUCF emissions.
In the long term, Ghana will need to balance its remaining emissions through the development of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) approaches. Given Ghana’s significant LULUCF emissions, achieving a steep reduction in its land sector emissions and turning it into a net sink could contribute to negative emissions.
- A 1.5°C pathway would require natural gas and oil, which collectively contributed 69% of Ghana’s power supply in 2020, to be phased out between 2030 and 2035.
- However, Ghana has indicated intentions to scale up its natural gas capacity, leverage its oil and gas industry for national economic development, and possibly develop its first coal power plant.4,5 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.6
- Ghana has committed to scale up the share of renewable energy in its national energy mix to 10% by 2030.7
- 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, driving the full decarbonisation of the sector by 2035.
- At 41% of total final consumption in 2019, residential buildings account for the highest share of total final energy consumption in Ghana.8
- Under 1.5°C compatible pathways, Ghana’s buildings sector reaches full decarbonisation by 2032. This would be primarily driven by a rapid increase in the electrification rate of the buildings sector from 22% in 2019 to 51-74% by 2030, and ultimately 94-96% by 2050. Conventional biomass, and to a lesser extent, energy from heating networks, could play a role in facilitating the sector’s decarbonisation. These ambitious increases would likely need international technical and financial support to be achieved.
- Ghana’s updated NDC does highlight interventions such as the “promotion of energy efficiency in homes, industry, and commerce”, and the adoption of sustainable refrigeration and air conditioning, though without quantified targets.7
- The transport sector is the second largest energy consumer in Ghana, accounting for 34.5% of total final consumption in 2019.8
- To align with 1.5°C compatible pathways, Ghana should close to halve its direct annual CO₂ emissions from the transport sector by 2030 and fully decarbonise the sector by 2047-2050. This can be achieved through a rapid uptake of electricity and potentially biofuels made from non-food feedstocks to power the sector.
- Emissions from the manufacturing industry and construction have declined by 14% between 2012 and 2016.1 Within the sector, food processing was the dominant source of emissions, followed by mining and quarrying, textile and leather, and construction.1
- To be aligned with 1.5°C compatible pathways, direct CO₂ emissions from the industry sector would need to reduce from 3 MtCO₂e/yr in 2019 to 0 MtCO₂e/yr by 2035-2037. The combined share of electricity, hydrogen, and biomass in the sector’s energy supply would have to increase from 45% in 2019 to 56-72% in 2030, and 90-95% by 2050. These ambitious increases would likely need international technical and financial support to achieve.