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Bangladesh Ambition gap

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

1.5°C compatible pathways

Bangladesh’s 2021 NDC includes stronger conditional and unconditional targets. The unconditional target aims at a 6.73% reduction of GHG emissions below business as usual (BAU) level. The conditional aims to reduce emissions 15.12% below BAU by 2030, equivalent to 319.5 MtCO₂e/yr by 2030 or 149% above 2012 levels excluding LULUCF. This is almost the same as the last NDC but the absolute reduction of 61.9 MtCO₂e is higher than the previous NDC as the previous NDC only covers power, industry and transport sectors.13 The updated targets cover all sectors, with most of the reduction coming from the energy sector (~95%).

1.5°C compatible pathways would require Bangladesh to reach emission levels of 74-112 MtCO₂e/yr by 2030, or reductions of around 13-42% below 2012 levels by 2030, excluding LULUCF. Bangladesh would 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.

Long term pathway

Long-term 1.5°C compatible pathways indicate that the country would need to reduce its GHG emissions by 59-73% below 2012 levels or to 34-53 MtCO₂e/yr by 2050, excluding LULUCF.32 Remaining emissions, mostly coming from agriculture and waste could then be balanced through the deployment of carbon dioxide removal approaches such as strengthened sinks from the land sector.

The GHG National Inventory report from 20051 and 2012 indicates that the land sector was a source of emissions accounting for around 5% of total GHG in 2012, and recent estimates show it emitted around 22 MtCO₂e/yr in 2019.9 Thus, the country will need to implement stringent policies to reduce its forestry emissions and to further contribute to negative emissions.2 As a part its long-term vision and broader energy diversification Bangladesh has outlined a National Solar Energy Roadmap 2021-2041 with specific time-bound measures.

1 Ministry of Environment and Forests, G. of B. Second national Communication of Bangladesh to UNFCCC. (2012).

2 FAOSTAT. Land use Total Data Bangladesh. (2021).

3 Gerretsen, I. Bangladesh scraps nine coal power plants as overseas finance dries up. Climate Home News (2021).

4 Reuters. Bangladesh looks to cut future coal use as costs rise, Energy News, ET EnergyWorld. (2020).

5 Dhaka Tribune. State Minister: 40% of Bangladesh’s power will come from renewables by 2041. Dhaka Tribune. (2021).

6 USAID. Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Sector Bangladesh. (2012).

7 Statista. Bangladesh – share of economic sectors in the gross domestic product 2019. (2020).

8 Governement of Bangladesh. Bangladesh Year Book-Chapter 6 Energy. (2019).

9 Ministry of Environment, F. and C. C. of B. Third National Communication of Bangladesh to UNFCCC. (2018).

10 International Trade Administration. Bangladesh – Power and Energy. (2020).

11 Bangladesh Planning Commission. Making Vision 2041 a Reality PERSPECTIVE PLAN OF BANGLADESH 2021-2041. (2020).

12 Cabraal, A., Ward, W. A., Bogach, V. S. & Jain, A. Living in the light: The Bangladesh solar home systems story. (2021).

13 Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) 2021-Bangladesh. (2021).

14 Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC)- Bangladesh. (2015).

15 SREDA. Energy Efficiency and Conservation Master Plan in Bangladesh. (2015).

16 IEA. Bangladesh – Countries & Regions. (2019).

17 Worldometer. Bangladesh Natural Gas Reserves, Production and Consumption Statistics. (2017).

18 SAARC. SAARC Energy Outlook 2030. (2018).

19 IEA. World Energy Balances 2019 (OECD and Selected Emerging Economies). (2019).

20 Huda, A. S. N., Mekhilef, S. & Ahsan, A. Biomass energy in Bangladesh: Current status and prospects. Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev. 30, 504–517 (2014).

21 Khan, M. S. et al. Prospect Of Biofuel In Bangladesh: Bioethanol And Biodiesel Production At Local Condition. In Joint Conference International Conference on Environmental Microbiology and Microbial Ecology & International Conference on Ecology and Ecosystems (2017).

22 Rouf, M. A. & Haque, M. N. Role of Renewable Energy (Biogas and Improved Cook Stoves) for Creation of Green Jobs in Bangladesh. (2008).

23 Fisher, M. Introduction of Nuclear Power in Bangladesh Underway with IAEA Assistance. (2020).

24 BP. Statistical Review of World Energy 2020. (2020).

25 Ministry of Power, E. and M. R. Power System Master Plan. (2016).

26 Timilsina, G. R., Pargal, S., Tsigas, M. & Sahin, S. How Much Would Bangladesh Gain from the Removal of Subsidies on Electricity and Natural Gas? (2018).

27 Salam, R. A. et al. An Overview on Energy and Development of Energy Integration in Major South Asian Countries: The Building Sector. Energies 2020, Vol. 13, Page 5776 13, 5776 (2020).

28 Bangladesh National Building Code (BNBC) 2020. (2020).

29 Green Finance Platform. Bangladesh’s Green Transformation Fund (GTF). Green Finance Platform. (2019).

30 Kamal, M. National Budget Speech 2021-2022 (full text). [Speech transcript]. Daily Sun. (2021).

31 Climate Analytics. Decarbonising South and South East Asia: Shifting energy supply in South Asia and South East Asia to non-fossil fuel-based energy systems in line with the Paris Agreement long-term temperature goal and achievement of Sustainable Development Goals. (2019).

32 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 countries, they underestimate the feasible space for developed 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.

33 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.

34 At the regional level, models suggest coal-fired power to be phased out in South Asian countries by 2040.31


Bangladeshʼs total GHG emissions

excl. LULUCF MtCO₂e/yr

Displayed values
Reference year
Net zero GHG excl. LULUCF*
Reference year
1.5°C emissions level
NDC (conditional)
NDC (unconditional)
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 2012

Energy system transformation

Bangladesh’s energy system is highly dependent on fossil fuels, particularly natural gas, which accounted for up to 55% of total primary energy use in 2017.16 Bangladesh has high domestic reserves of natural gas and doesn’t depend on imports.17 Natural gas and oil represented a higher proportion of primary energy demand in 2018 compared to 2010.18 Renewables, excluding traditional biomass, had a share of less than 1% in 2017 of total primary energy, with traditional biomass accounting for around 20% (mostly used for cooking).19

To be aligned with 1.5°C compatible pathways, Bangladesh’s share of fossil fuels in primary energy would need to fall from its 2019 level of around 80% to 5-23% by 2050. This will include decreasing its share of natural gas, oil (mostly in the transport sector) and coal. Coal has an insignificant role in its current power mix, and its earlier plan of expanding coal capacity has been scrapped as of 2021 – 90% of the capacity expansion has been rolled back.

Decarbonisation of Bangladesh’s energy system by 2050 is heavily dependent on renewables uptake, specifically, shifting away from traditional biomass to variable renewables. Being an agrarian country, biomass is one of the potential renewable energy sources in Bangladesh. Major sources of biomass-based energy include agricultural crop residues, animal manure and municipal solid waste.20 In the absence of electrification of end use sectors, the use of biogas with improved cookstoves and biofuel in transport sector could reduce demand for fossil fuels.21,22 Our analysis shows that lower penetration of renewables would mean that Bangladesh would need to adopt carbon removal approaches such as land sinks or bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) to balance residual emissions.23

While models show uptake of fossil with carbon capture and storage in Bangladesh, they represent a potential additional mitigation burden, as these high-cost systems are not yet available at scale and would still result in high residual carbon emissions that would need to be minimised with further efforts to reduce emissions and/or more negative emissions/carbon removal to compensate.

Recent rises in demand for all fossil fuels, especially natural gas, would need to begin declining as soon as possible if Bangladesh is to have any chance of forging a 1.5°C aligned energy system transformation.


Bangladeshʼs primary energy mix

petajoule per year

SSP1 Low CDR reliance
20192030204020502 0003 000
SSP1 High CDR reliance
20192030204020502 0003 000
Low energy demand
20192030204020502 0003 000
High energy demand - Low CDR reliance
20192030204020502 0003 000
  • Renewables incl. biomass
  • Unabated fossil
  • Nuclear and/or fossil with CCS
  • Negative emissions technologies via BECCS

Bangladeshʼs 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 Bangladesh. 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
incl. BECCS excl. LULUCF and novel CDR
Total GHG
Megatonnes CO₂ equivalent per year
74 to 112
52 to 69
34 to 53
Relative to reference year in %
−42 to −13%
−59 to −46%
−73 to −59%
Total CO₂
38 to 54
8 to 29
1 to 10
2051 to 2062
Relative to reference year in %
−41 to −16%
−88 to −55%
−99 to −85%