In order to be 1.5°C compatible, Myanmar would need to reduce emissions by 28-49%, excl. LULUCF, from 2015 levels. This is in stark contrast to the country’s NDC targets and the increase in emissions seen in recent years of around 23% above 2015 levels. Myanmar would however need international support to implement mitigation measures that would close the gap between its fair share and its 1.5°C compatible domestic emissions pathway.
Myanmarʼs 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
Myanmar’s updated NDC, submitted to the UNFCCC in July 2021, includes a cumulative emission reductions target, of 121 MtCO₂e (unconditional) and 158 MtCO₂e (conditional) over the period 2021-2030 (cumulative), below BAU when excluding LULUCF.27 Compared to 2015 levels, this target translates to a 23% (unconditional) to 13% (conditional) increase in emissions, excl. LULUCF, above 2015 levels by 2030.28 The planned measures will primarily come from the power sector and are benchmarked against a BAU scenario.1
1 The Republic of the Union of Myanmar. Nationally Determined Contributions. (2021).
2 FAOSTAT. FAOSTAT Statistical Database. (2022).
3 FAO. Global Forest Resources Assessment 2020. (2020).
4 Liu, J. & Wallace, R. Climate danger grows in ‘vulnerable’ Myanmar after military coup. Al Jazeera (2021).
5 Associated Press. EU sanctions target major Myanmar energy company. DW (2022).
6 Associated Press. 2 big energy firms exit Myanmar over human rights abuses by the military government. NPR (2022).
7 Battersby, A. Myanmar vows to accelerate energy projects. Upstream (2022).
8 Viktor Tachev. The Risks of the Myanmar LNG Pipeline. Energy Tracker Asia (2022).
9 International Trade Administration. Burma – Energy. (2022).
10 Climate Analytics. Decarbonising South and South East Asia. (2019).
11 MOEE. NEP Plan. The Republic of the Union of Myanmar Ministry of Electricity and Energy. (2022).
12 IEA. Myanmar National Electrification Project (NEP). IEA/IRENA Renewables Policies Database. (2017).
13 International Finance Corporation. Strategic Environmental Assessment of the Myanmar Hydropower Sector. (2018).
14 Bo, M. Myanmar on brink of economic collapse one year after military coup. DW (2022).
15 Aung, T. S., Fischer, T. B. & Azmi, A. S. Are large-scale dams environmentally detrimental? Life-cycle environmental consequences of mega-hydropower plants in Myanmar. Int. J. Life Cycle Assess. 25, 1749–1766 (2020).
16 The World Bank. Urban Transport in Yangon and Mandalay: Review of Sector Institutions, Expenditures, and Funding. (2020).
17 Asian Development Bank. Myanmar Transport Sector Policy Note – Urban Transport. (2016).
18 The Republic of the Union of Myanmar. Myanmar Energy Master Plan. (2015).
19 Frontier. Pledges but no progress as military neglects environment. Frontier Myanmar (2022).
20 Htoon, K. L. Government regulations put the brakes on cattle exports. Frontier Myanmar (2020).
21 Myint, T. China-Myanmar border trade: Case study on live cattle trade of Myanmar. (2022).
22 The Republic of the Union of Myanmar. Myanmar’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution – INDC. (2015).
23 Lynn, K. Y. Plans for wind power from Chinese firm fall apart in Myanmar. China Dialogue (2020).
24 IRENA. Energy Profile – Myanmar. (2021).
25 MOEE & ERIA. Myanmar Energy Outlook 2020. (2020).
26 Eckstein, D., Künzel, V. & Schäfer, L. Global climate risk index 2021. (2021).
27 Both the State Administration Council (SAC), the military junta currently governing Myanmar, and the National Unity Government (NUG), the government in exile, submitted NDCs in July 2021. Both documents are nearly identical. The SAC aims to achieve a conditional target for total emissions reduction of 415 MtCO₂e (including LULUCF) over the period 2021 to 2030 (with an unconditional target of 245 MtCO₂e reduction). The NUG aims for 413 MtCO₂e reduction conditionally, 244 MtCO₂e reduction unconditionally, both including LULUCF and over the period 2021-2030.19 In this profile, we analyse the NDC officially submitted to the UNFCCC.
28 See assumptions and calculations here: https://1p5ndc-pathways.climateanalytics.org/methodology/#mmr-ndc
29 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.
30 For further information, please see Global Forest Watch.
31 Given that the NDC has emissions for agriculture accounting for 32.1% of the total in 2013, rice cultivation and enteric fermentation would account for 37% and 28% of the sectoral total respectively. Data from the FAO confirms that rice cultivation and enteric fermentation are the main components of agricultural emissions, accounting for around 72% of emissions from this sector currently. The share from these two drivers has decreased slightly from 77% in 1990. At the same time, enteric fermentation’s share has increased while that of rice cultivation has decreased over the period from 1990. This may be a consequence of increased cattle exports after the government lifted a ban on this trade in October 2017.20,21 For further details on agricultural exports see Myanmar’s OEC country page.
32 Values taken from the World Bank. Total fossil fuel rents amounted to 3.5% and 2.7% of GDP in 2018 and 2019 respectively. Other sources have the oil and gas sector contributing 3.4% of GDP in 2017-18.
33 The rural electrification targets are forecast to provide power, through mini-grids, to 1.8 million (unconditional) to 3.6 million (conditional) people. This is presumably in line with earlier targets for the per household electrification rate (45% by 2020-21, 60% by 2025-26, and 80% by 2030) given in the country’s previous NDC submission.22
34 This being the difference between cumulative reductions (2021-2030) under the higher bound of the 1.5ºC compatible range and the that under the conditional NDC. Using the lower bound of the 1.5°C compatible range and the unconditional NDC, the gap would be 265 MtCO₂e.
35 Energy-related GHG emissions increased from 9.4 MtCO₂e/yr in 2010 to 23.6 MtCO₂e/yr in 2019, an increase of 150%.
36 Oil’s contribution to primary energy increased from 54 PJ/yr in 2010 to 295 PJ/yr in 2019. Its share in the energy mix grew from 9% to 30% over this period.
37 Unabated fossil fuels supplied 498 PJ/yr in 2019, around half of the country’s TPES that year. The other half was supplied by variable and conventional renewables. Of renewable energy, around 90% is from hydropower.24 Under the median of the 1.5°C pathways, unabated fossil fuels energy supply 232 PJ/yr in 2035 and 111 in PJ/yr. While unabated fossil fuels share in TPES would drop only slightly by 2030 (to 45%), by 2050 their share would drop to 13%. Note that unabated fossil fuel supply has increased drastically between 2015 and 2019. In 2015, they supplied 285 PJ/yr and contribute a 36% share to TPES. The increase is largely driven by a greater supply of oil. See the IEA’s Myanmar country page for further details.
38 These are in line with previous energy policy and electricity planning documents. For example, the BAU scenario in the NDC is taken from the country’s 2014 National Electricity Master Plan.
39 The NDC does state that coal will not increase beyond 2030 and be phased out by 2050. However, the government sees natural gas’ role in the energy mix as being more dependent on the ability to scale up renewable generation capacity.1
40 The exemption being the pathway that assumes low energy demand.
41 For a breakdown of Myanmar’s renewable capacity and generation, please see the IRENA’s country profile.
42 The residential sector accounted for, on average, around 80% of total final consumption between 1990 and 2010. In 2019, this dropped to 55% as other sectors, particularly industry and transport, have seen increased consumption. Biomass has historically accounted for 98% of final energy in the buildings sector (average 1990 to 2015). Biomass’ share has fallen since 2015 and was 87% in 2019. See the IEA’s Myanmar country page for further details.
43 As of 2018. See the IRENA’s country profile. As noted in the country’s 2015 Energy Master Plan, in 2012, rural household lighting accounted for around 0.3% of total household energy consumption while rural cooking accounted for 86%.18
44 Note that Myanmar’s rural population makes up 70% of the total.1
45 Specifically, the government intends to distribute 5.1 million improved fuelwood cook stoves and additionally promote the replacement of wood cook stoves by LPG based cooking technology across 1 million households by 2030. The distribution of improved fuelwood cook stoves is estimated to result in a cumulative emissions reduction of 12.99 MtCO₂e over the period 2021-2030. Of this, 21% will go towards the country’s NDC emission reduction target. The switch to LPG cook-stoves is estimated to result in 14.94 MtCO₂e avoided emissions over the period 2021-2030.
46 Oil consumption in the building sector grew from 0.09 to 20 PJ/yr between 2015 and 2019. Its share in the sector’s final energy increased from 0.02% to 4% over that period.
47 This is part of the NDC’s overall conditional energy efficiency target of a 20% improvement from 2012 levels by 2030.
48 Industrial gross value added contributed 38% to GDP in 2019, up from 25.6% in 2010. Over the same period, industrial final energy consumption’s share of the total increased from 10% to 19%.
49 Oil consumption increased from 9.6 PJ/yr in 2010 to 94.6 PJ/yr in 2019. Over the same time, total final energy consumption in industry increased from 53.5 PJ/yr to 160 PJ/yr. Oil thus accounted for around 80% of consumption growth.
50 The energy consumption reduction target is also at odds with forecasts put forth in the 2015 Energy Master Plan. That document projected that industrial final energy consumption would increase at an annual growth rate of 11.6% under a “medium” scenario where the country’s GDP would grow at 7.1% per year over this time.18 More recently, a report by the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia found that under BAU, industry’s final energy consumption would grow from 5.7 Mtoe in 2016 to around 10 Mtoe by 2030 and above 15 Mtoe by 2040. Under scenarios which assume a higher energy efficiency or lower GDP, industry’s 2040 consumption would be between 10 and 15 Mtoe.25
51 The 2015 Energy Master Plan notes that offshore natural gas production and export had been the largest driver of economic growth in the decade leading up to 2012.18
52 Myanmar’s 2015 Energy Master Plan notes the linear relationship between motorisation and GDP/capita and anticipates that this relationship will hold through the planning period out to 2035.18
53 According to the Department of Road Transport Administration, between 2010 and 2019, the number of registered vehicles in the city increased from 261 thousand to 913 thousand. Motorcycles accounted for 46% of this increase while cars accounted for 28%. Busses, on the other hand, only accounted for 1% of the increase.
54 Note that transport sector emissions saw a sharp decline in 2008 likely due to the devastation caused by tropical cyclone Nargis. The increasing frequency of such events has made Myanmar one of the most highly impacted countries by climate change.1,26
55 A more recent report by the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia also forecasts transport energy consumption to more than double between 2016 and 2040 and continue to rely heavily on oil products, but with natural gas playing a more prominent role.25
As of May 2022, Myanmar has not yet submitted a long-term strategy to the UNFCCC. Under analysed 1.5°C compatible pathways, the country could see GHG emissions reductions, excl. LULUCF, of around 71% below 2015 levels by 2050.29
Over the long term, the use of land-based sinks will be an important aspect of Myanmar’s pathway to net zero emissions. LULUCF, the leading source of emissions in the country (followed by agriculture), will be key in its climate efforts, and would require the implementation of ambitious policies that would drive emission reductions .
- For Myanmar’s emissions trajectory to be Paris Agreement-aligned, the country would need to decarbonise its power sector. As of 2019, fossil fuels account for just over half of the power mix, having increased over five times between 2010-2019. The rest is covered by renewables, mostly hydro.
- Myanmar’s updated NDC includes a target for renewables, including hydro, to account for 39% (unconditional) to 48% (conditional) of the power mix in 2030. However, 1.5°C compatibility would necessitate a much greater share of renewables (around 91-92%) by that year.
- The country’s updated NDC has coal accounting for 11-20% of the 2030 power mix, and LNG for 33%, putting the country at risk of locking itself in a carbon intensive pathway. 1.5°C compatible pathways require coal to be phased out by 2030 and gas by mid-2040s. Emissions from the power sector would need to reach net zero between 2035-2036.
- Myanmar’s buildings sector gets most of its energy (residential and commercial) from biomass with electricity and oil providing smaller shares. Only 66% of the population has access to electricity and 28% to clean cooking.
- Emissions from energy demands in the building sector grew by 246% between 2015 and 2019. This reflects the increasing share of oil in the sector’s final energy consumption.
- 1.5°C compatible pathways see the building sector rapidly electrifying. Electricity’s share in the final energy consumption increases from 9% in 2019 to between 34-81% in 2030 and between 81-96% by 2050.
- Urbanisation and growth of GDP per capita in Myanmar have resulted in an increased motorisation rate. Direct emissions from the transport sector increased from 4 to 6 MtCO₂/yr between 2007 and 2019 (a 42% increase).
- While Myanmar makes no mitigation commitments for the transport sector in its NDC, the government does acknowledge the GHG reduction benefit of investing in public transportation infrastructure and the need to end the use of fossil fuel vehicles by 2035 or earlier.
- 1.5°C compatible pathways see the transportation sector’s energy mix undergoing significant changes. By 2050, electricity could meet close to 40% of the sector’s energy needs. Hydrogen could also play a significant role. Direct carbon emissions from transport would decline by 42-43% by 2030 and Myanmar could achieve a decarbonised transportation sector by around 2056.
- In 2019, Myanmar’s industrial sector got 59% of its energy from oil and 17% from electricity. Oil consumption increased 10-fold between 2010 and 2019.
- As part of its NDC, Myanmar has put forth the goal of around 7% reduction, relative to 2012, in industrial energy consumption. While energy efficiency is important, electrification of the sector through a decarbonised, renewable power system will also be required for the country to be Paris Agreement compatible.
- 1.5°C compatible pathways see an increased use of electricity in the industrial sector, reaching about a third of final consumption by 2050. Energy related industrial emissions would reach net zero around 2050.