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

Last update: August 2021

Bangladeshʼs total GHG emissions by sector

excl. LULUCF MtCO₂e/yr

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Industry (processes)

Power sector in 2030

Bangladesh’s power mix was dominated by fossil fuels in 2017 – they accounted for approximately 96% of generation.16 Natural gas as the largest fuel source, followed by oil. With the aim of diversifying its power mix, reducing its high reliance on domestic natural gas resources and its dependency on oil, the country planned to increase coal capacity. However, this plan was scrapped in 2021 – with 90% of the planned coal capacity expansion cancelled. While this is a step forward, the country is still planning to rely on fossil fuels for power generation, aiming to replace the planned coal expansion with natural gas.

While coal plays a minor role currently in Bagladesh’s power mix, for it to be aligned with a 1.5°C compatible pathway it would need to be phased out in 2030. Our analysis shows that by 2030, fossil fuel generation share in power sector needs to be reduced to 64-76%, while renewable energy uptake should increase to 24-36% by 2030.6,26

Towards a fully decarbonised power sector

Power generation in Bangladesh is heavily dependent on natural gas, with an estimated emission intensity of 504 gCO2/kWh in 2017. Bangladesh’s electricity sector is one of the fastest growing in South Asia, with an average annual growth of ~10% during the past decade.23 1.5°C compatible pathways shows Bangladesh’s power sector fully decarbonised by 2040, with gas phased out of power generation by 2040, and share of renewables ramping up from 2% in 2017, to 82-99% by 2040.

Investing in any new fossil fuel capacity risks stranded assets and locking in the country to a carbon intensive emissions pathway.

Renewable power is starting to take hold in Bangladesh. The Bangladeshi government has recently announced a target of 40% of power generation to come from renewable energy sources by 2041, up from the current levels of 3%.24 Bangladesh aims to add 2 GW of renewable energy to reach an installed capacity of 2.5 GW by 2021, and 3.8 GW by 2041.

To achieve this Bangladesh will need to strengthen its renewable energy targets to replace the current plan for fossil capacity additions. The phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, combined with the fact that new solar PV is now significantly cheaper to build than new coal, are potential opportunities for the country to capitalise on in the decarbonisation of its power sector.25

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

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

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

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

5 FAOSTAT. Land use Total Data Bangladesh. (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. Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC)- Bangladesh. (2015).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

21 Fisher, M. Introduction of Nuclear Power in Bangladesh Underway with IAEA Assistance. (2018).

22 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).

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

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

25 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)..

26 At the regional level, models suggest coal-fired power to be phased out in South Asian countries by 2040.22

Bangladeshʼs power mix

terawatt-hour per year

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SSP1 Low CDR reliance
20172030204020505001 000
20172030204020505001 000
SSP1 High CDR reliance
20172030204020505001 000
Low Energy Demand
20172030204020505001 000
High Energy Demand - Low CDR reliance
20172030204020505001 000
  • Unabated fossil
  • Negative emissions technologies via BECCS
  • Renewables incl. Biomass
  • Nuclear and/or fossil with CCS

Bangladeshʼs power sector carbon intensity


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  • SSP1 Low CDR reliance
  • 100%RE
  • High Energy Demand - Low CDR reliance
  • Historical emissions
  • Low Energy Demand
  • SSP1 High CDR reliance

1.5°C compatible power sector benchmarks

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Carbon intensity, renewable generation share, and fossil fuel generation share from illustrative 1.5°C pathways for Bangladesh

Decarbonised power sector by
Carbon intensity of power
290 to 310
−30 to 0
Relative to reference year in %
−25 to −18%
−100 to −99%
−107 to −100%
Year of phase-out
Share of unabated coal
Share of unabated gas
57 to 62
0 to 12
2040 to 2049
Share of renewable energy
23 to 36
82 to 99
99 to 100
Share of unabated fossil fuel
63 to 76
0 to 12

BECCS are the only Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) technologies considered in these benchmarks

All values are rounded