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What is The Philippinesʼ pathway to limit global warming to 1.5°C?

Ambition gap

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The Philippinesʼ total GHG emissions

excl. LULUCF MtCO₂e/yr

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Displayed values
Reference year
−100 %−50 %0 %50 %100 %2000202020402060123456
  • 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
    −41 %
  2. 2
    2021 NDC (conditional)
    −45 %
  3. 3
    2021 NDC (unconditional)
    +111 %
  4. 4
    Ambition gap
    +4 %
  5. 5
    Net zero GHG excl. LULUCF*
    2070
  6. 6
    Reference year
    2015
Key messages

Last updated: October 2021

The Philippines updated its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) in April 2021 to a 75% emissions reduction by 2030, relative to a cumulative business-as-usual (BAU) emissions pathway. 2.71% of the target is unconditional, while the remaining 72.29% is conditional on international support.

1 Climate Action Tracker. Philippines. Climate Action Tracker. (2020).

2 Ahmed, S. J. Philippines Power Sector Can Reach Resilience by 2021 COVID-19 Reveals Regulatory Weaknesses and the Need for Improved Incentives and Policies. (2020).

3 Department of Energy. Draft Philippine Energy Plan. (2020).

4 IEA. Philippines – Countries & Region. International Energy Agency. (2020).

5 FAO. FAOSTAT – Agriculture Total. (2019).

6 Plaza, A. B. Ditch NIMBY to fix Philippines’ municipal solid waste problem. Asian Development Bank. (2017).

7 Climate Transparency. Philippines Country Profile. (2020).

8 Department of Energy of the Philippines. National Renewable Energy Programme (NREP). in (2011).

9 Department of Energy. Philippine Energy Plan 2018 – 2040. (2020).

10 Department of Energy. Memorandum:Advisory on the Moratorium of Endorsements for Greenfield Coal-Fired Power Projects In Line with Improving the Sustainability of the Philippines’ Electric Power Industry. (2020). project.pdf

11 De Torres, A. Why the midstream and downstream natural gas industries development bills are climate-blind. (2021).

12 Reynolds, S. No Guaranteed Future for Imported Gas in the Philippines. IEEFA (2021).

13 Simeon, L. M. Philippine transport sector to get $15 billion financing from ADB. PhilStar. (2021).

14 Fern. Would BECCS deliver negative emissions? (2021).

15 EndCoal. Global Coal Public Finance Tracker. Last updated: July 2020. (2020).

16 Calculations by Climate Action Tracker. The NDC provides a cumulative BAU for the period 2020-2030. It does not provide information for the absolute emissions levels for 2030. This is calculated from a stakeholder consultation session hosted by the Philippine Climate Change Commission in December 2020.

17 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.

18 Calculated by the Climate Action Tracker, currently unpublished.

The NDC is equivalent to an unconditional target of 383-423 MtCO₂e/yr in 2030, with a conditional target of 100-120 MtCO₂e/yr. The conditional target translates to 34-45% below 2015 levels (excluding LULUCF). [16]

Our analysis shows that the Philippines NDC is ambitious as it is consistent with a 1.5°C warming limit required under the Paris Agreement. We estimate a 1.5°C compatible pathway to be around 108 MtCO₂e/yr, or 41% below 2015 levels by 2030. However, current policy projections show the Philippines is not on track to meeting its NDC target, with emissions expected to increase by 34-41% above 2015 levels.

Under the Paris Agreement, international support, including finance, technology transfer and capacity building, will be needed for The Philippines’ to close the emissions gap between its fair share and its domestic emissions pathway.

The Philippines does not have a net zero greenhouse gases (GHG) target. 1.5°C compatible pathways would require the Philippines to reach GHG emissions reductions of 68-80% below 2015 levels by 2050 (or 36-58 MtCO₂e/yr by 2050), when excluding LULUCF emissions.17 On the road to net zero, the country will need to balance its remaining GHG emissions with land sinks.

Emissions reductions should primarily target the energy sector, as this sector currently contributes the largest share of emissions. There is a potential to increase renewable energy in the Total Primary Energy Supply from 32% in 2017 to 94% in 2050.

100% renewable energy electricity generation can be achieved by 2040. Accelerating renewable energy uptake is key power system flexibility, resilience, and electricity access for remote communities.

Carbon dioxide removal (CDR) can balance out the remaining emissions from other sectors, particularly agriculture, which is expected to take the largest share of emissions in all scenarios from 2050. Favouring climate friendly agricultural methods will reduce the need for CDR.

The declining prices of renewables and the costs of carbon capture and storage (CCS) at present mean that plans or investment in fossil fuels that would rely on CCS to reduce emissions would place the Philippines in danger of increasing stranded assets. A high renewable energy pathway will prove more feasible and provide more benefits for sustainable development.

Carbon dioxide removal approaches (CDR) such as land-based CDR or technological CDR, may play a role in bringing emissions to net zero. However, LULUCF emissions remains highly uncertain.

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Key messages

Energy sector decarbonisation is crucial as the sector is currently responsible for 58% of emissions or 122 MtCO₂e/yr.

Renewables could make up 85% of the power mix by 2030 and near 100% by 2040. Current policy reforms include renewable auctions, the curtailment of coal supply contracts under certain conditions, and opt for cheaper renewables by end users, which has the potential to speed up the deployment of renewables.1

1.5°C compatible pathways show coal and gas could be phased out of the power sector by 2034 and 2035, respectively. Renewable uptake can be accelerated by integrating the current coal moratorium into permanent policy, and scrapping all new coal fired power plants in the pipeline. Depending on the context, Philippines may require international support to achieve these phase out schedules.

The Philippines could reduce the carbon intensity in the power sector by 85% by 2030 compared to 2017 levels. However, the expansion of gas infrastructure is a barrier to low emissions power, and does not set the country on course for energy independence, while also risking expensive stranded assets.1,2

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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
2030
  1. 2030 82 to 85% Renewable share
2038
  1. 2038 99 % Renewable share
2039
  1. 2039 Zero emissions power

Footnotes