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Ambition gap

What is Senegalʼs pathway to limit global warming to 1.5°C?

1.5°C compatible pathways

Senegal’s 2020 NDC targets a conditional GHG emission reduction of 29.5% below business as usual levels by 2030 (excl. LULUCF).12 This translates in emissions reductions of 24-59% above 2010 by 2030 or around 28-36 MtCO₂e/yr (excl. LULUCF).13

1.5°C compatible pathways indicate that Senegal’s domestic emissions reductions would need to be 2-23% below 2010 levels or 18-22 MtCO₂e/yr (excluding LULUCF) by 2030.

With international support, Senegal’s domestic emissions pathway will be implemented to close the gap between its fair share level and domestic emissions level.

Long term pathway

To be 1.5°C pathway compatible, Senegal will need to reduce its GHG emissions to 37% below 2010 levels by 2050 or approximately 14 MtCO₂e/y by 2050 excluding LULUCF and CO₂ emissions excluding LULUCF reduced to approximately 78% below 2010 levels or 2 MtCO₂e/y by 2050. Senegal has lost half of its forest since 1960 in part due to firewood harvesting.4 Reforestation and the reduction of deforestation could also contribute to Senegal’s forest as a carbon sink.

Residual emissions from harder to abate sectors such as agriculture, which constitute almost half of national emission, will need to be balanced by carbon dioxide removal approaches.

1 Republic of Senegal. Contribution déterminée au niveau national du Sénégal. (2020).

2 Ministère du Pétrole et des Énergies. Système d’information énergétique (SIE) du Sénégal. (2019).

3 African Development Bank. National Climate Change Profile: Senegal. (2018).

4 Tchanche, B. Energy Supply and Consumption in Senegal. in Sustaining Tomorrow via Innovative Engineering 55–82 (WORLD SCIENTIFIC, 2021). doi:10.1142/9789811228032_0002.

5 IEA. Africa Energy Outlook 2019. (2019).

6 Dieng, M. Face au défi climatique, comment les syndicats peuvent-ils accompagner les efforts du Sénégal dans sa transition énergétique? Equal Times. (2020).

7 Ly, Ibrahima; Faye, Yvonne; Diop, Abdou; Kane, Khoudia; Diop, Kader; Sarr, Bassirou; Diallo, Aissatou; Ndiaye, Saboury; Sarr, Ousmane Fall; Senghor, Mame Satou; Faye, Antoine; Ndour, Abdou; Niasse, Seynabou Diouf; Diedhiou, Abdou Aziz; Diakhate, Adiara Ka, S. ProGREEN Senegal Renewable Energy Assessment. (2021).

8 Ministère de l’Économie des Finances et du Plan. Plan Sénégal Émergent (PSE) Plan d’Actions Prioritaires (2019-2023). (2018).

9 Ministère du Pétrole et des Energies. Lettre de Politique de Développement du Secteur de l’Energie (LPDSE) 2019-2023. (2019).

10 In analysed pathways, the energy and power sector assume already a certain amount of carbon dioxide removal technologies, in this case bioenergy carbon capture and storage (BECCS).

11 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.

12 Senegal conditional NDC is provided in Global Warming Potentials (GWP) from the Second Assessment Report (SAR) and equals 27 MtCO₂e/yr or 29.5% below BAU. This translates in 59% emissions reduction above 2010, base year provided in the NDC as reference for the BAU scenario. Baseline year referenced in the NDC for the BAU scenario and subsequent NDC targets are excluding forestry contributions and biomass and total aggregated contribution to the NDC suggested that LULUCF emissions are excluded. We therefore assume that the NDC targets are excluding LULUCF.

13 Historical base year 2010 provided in the NDC differs significantly from the PRIMAP-Hist historical source used in this analysis (around 28%), we there provide a range for the NDC. The upper bound of the NDC is based on an estimated BAU excluding LULUCF scaled to historical dataset excluding LULUCF used in the analysis: PRIMAP-Hist 2019 and in Global Warming Potentials AR4. We apply then the conditional NDC emissions reduction target of -29.5%. The lower bound of the NDC is based on the provided NDC target converted to global warming potentials AR4 using the ratio SAR/AR4 from the PRIMAP-Hist 2019 dataset. See assumptions section.


Senegalʼs total GHG emissions

excl. LULUCF MtCO₂e/yr

Displayed values
Reference year
Reference year
1.5°C emissions level
NDC (conditional)
Ambition gap
  • 1.5°C compatible pathways
  • Middle of the 1.5°C compatible range
  • Current policy projections
  • 1.5°C emissions range
  • Historical emissions
2030 emissions levels
NDC (conditional)
1.5°C emissions level
Ref. year 2010

Energy system transformation

1.5°C compatible pathways show that the share of fossil fuel in Senegal’s primary energy mix will need to decrease from 62% in 2017 to around 30% in 2040, and less than 20% by 2050.

To enable emissions reductions, Senegal will need to considerably scale up its renewable energy supply. Paris compatible pathways show a rapid uptake of renewables from around 38% in 2017 to 65% of the energy mix by 2040, and 71% by 2050 which could be implemented through Senegal’s huge underexploited renewable energy potential for solar, wind, hydropower, and bioenergy.7 However, the energy sector is expected to grow significantly under business as usual and will represent more than 50% of the country’s overall emissions in 2022 mostly driven by increased energy demand as well as the planned exploitation of oil and gas starting in 2022.1

In 2017, 97% of renewable energy was traditional biomass such as wood and charcoal, which have negative health and sustainability implications. There will need to be a shift away from traditional biomass to other renewables such as solar, wind and hydro through increasing electrification rate of end-use sectors and access to clean cooking options to reduce the use of traditional biomass.

Senegal aims to provide universal access to electricity by 2025 which provides an opportunity for the country to shift away from traditional biomass sources to renewables.1 Renewables comes with co-benefits and will steer emissions reductions in the LULUCF sector, by reducing deforestation.


Senegalʼs primary energy mix

petajoule per year

SSP1 Low CDR reliance
SSP1 High CDR reliance
Low Energy Demand
High Energy Demand - Low CDR reliance
  • Negative emissions technologies via BECCS
  • Unabated fossil
  • Renewables incl. Biomass
  • Nuclear and/or fossil with CCS

Senegalʼs total CO₂ emissions

excl. LULUCF MtCO₂/yr

  • 1.5°C compatible pathways
  • 1.5°C emissions range
  • Middle of the 1.5°C compatible range
  • Historical emissions

1.5°C compatible emissions benchmarks

Key emissions benchmarks of Paris compatible Pathways for Senegal. The 1.5°C compatible range is based on the Paris Agreement compatible pathways from the IPCC SR1.5 filtered with sustainability criteria. The median (50th percentile) to 5th percentile and middle of the range are provided here. Relative reductions are provided based on the reference year.

Reference year
Reference year
Year of net zero GHG
incl. BECCS excl. LULUCF and novel CDR
Total GHG
Megatonnes CO₂ equivalent per year
16 to 22
13 to 16
11 to 16
Relative to reference year in %
−25 to −1%
−39 to −26%
−49 to −29%
Total CO₂
6 to 9
2 to 6
1 to 5
Relative to reference year in %
−19 to 18%
−74 to −17%
−90 to −32%