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Bhutan In brief

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

Economy wide

Our analysed 1.5°C compatible pathways indicate that Bhutan needs to reduce GHG emissions by 46–79% below 2015 levels, equivalent to 0.5–1.2 MtCO₂e/yr excluding LULUCF by 2050.

Bhutanʼs total GHG emissions

excl. LULUCF MtCO₂e/yr

Displayed values
Reference year
−100%−50%0%50%19902010203020502070
Net zero GHG excl. LULUCF*
2066
Reference year
2015
1.5°C emissions level
−6%
NDC (conditional)
−17%
Ambition gap
+12%
  • Middle of the 1.5°C compatible range
  • Current policy projections
  • 1.5°C emissions range
  • Historical emissions

2030 NDC

Bhutan’s forests can currently absorb more emissions than other sectors are producing. In the updated 2021 Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), the government reiterates its intention to remain carbon neutral if the country receives adequate international support.

However, Bhutan’s emissions have increased consistently since 2008, and under a business-as-usual (BAU) scenario, emissions will surpass the sink capacity of the country’s forestry sector between 2041 and 2045 under various economic growth scenarios.

1 Royal Government of Bhutan. Kingdom of Bhutan Second Nationally Determined Contribution. (2021).

2 Royal Government of Bhutan. Third National Communication to the UNFCCC. (2020).

3 World Bank. Manufacturing, value added (constant 2015 US$) – Bhutan. (2021).

4 Gütschow, J., Günther, A. & Pflüger, M. The PRIMAP-hist national historical emissions time series v2.3 (1750-2019). (2021) doi:10.5281/zenodo.5175154.

5 OEC. Cement in Bhutan. OEC – The Observatory of Economic Complexity. (2020).

6 IRENA. Energy Profile: Bhutan. International Renewable Energy Agency. (2021).

7 CEA. Note on cooperation with Bhutan.(2021).

8 Ministry of Economic Affairs. Bhutan sustainable hydropower development policy 2021. (2021).

9 IRENA. Kingdom of Bhutan: Renewables readiness assessment. International Renewable Energy Agency. (2019).

10 Gyeltshen, N. Bhutan ramps up its solar energy ambitions. The Third Pole. (2022).

11 Ministry of Information and Communication. Low Emission Development Strategy for Surface Transport 2021. (2021).

12 Zangpo, T. Bhutan to explore hydrogen as an alternative fuel source. Kuensel Online (2022).

13 Lhaden, Y. 70% of vehicles to be replaced by EVs by 2035. Kuensel Online. (2022).

14 Climate Action Tracker. Bhutan. July 2023 update. Climate Action Tracker. (2023).

Long-term strategy

In its updated NDC, which was submitted to the UNFCCC in 2021, Bhutan sets a goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050. Bhutan has not yet submitted a Long-term Strategy (LTS), but the sectoral Low Emissions Development Strategy (LEDS) provides detailed measures for keeping the country carbon neutral along with the investments needed to achieve this goal.

Sectors

Footnotes