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In brief

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

Economy wide

The implementation of Cameroon’s 1.5°C compatible domestic emissions pathway could be made possible with and through international support to close the gap between its fair share level and domestic emissions level. 1.5°C compatible pathways indicate that Cameroon’s domestic emissions would need to reduce by 29% below 2010 levels or 24 MtCO₂e/yr (excl. LULUCF) by 2030.

Cameroonʼs total GHG emissions

excl. LULUCF MtCO₂e/yr

Displayed values
Reference year
−100%−50%0%50%100%150%200%19902010203020502070
Reference year
2010
1.5°C emissions level
−29%
NDC (combined unconditional + conditional)
+185%
Ambition gap
−214%
  • 1.5°C compatible pathways
  • Middle of the 1.5°C compatible range
  • Current policy projections
  • 1.5°C emissions range
  • Historical emissions

2030 NDC

Cameroon’s 2021 NDC targets a 35% emissions reduction below BAU (translating into emissions increase of around 120% above 2010 levels). It includes a conditional component of 23% emissions reduction below BAU levels by 2030. When excluding LULUCF emissions, it translates into emissions increase of 175% above 2010 by 2030, or around 96 MtCO₂e/yr).15

1 République du Cameroun. Contribution déterminée au niveau national – Actualisée (CDN). 58 (2021).

2 World Bank Group. World Development Indicators: Cameroon. (2022).

3 African Development Bank (AfDB). Country priority plan and diagnostic of the electricity sector: Cameroon. (2021).

4 African Energy Commission (AFREC). AFREC Africa Energy Balances 2019. (2019).

5 Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC). OEC Cameroon country page. (2019).

6 International Energy Agency (IEA). Data and statistics: Cameroon. (2022). supply&indicator=TESbySource

7 U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Natural gas reserves. (2021).

8 African Energy Commission (AFREC). Africa Energy Efficiency for the Residential Sector 2019. (2019).

9 United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Atlas of Africa Energy Resource. (2017).

10 International Hydropower Association. Hydropower Status Report: Sector Trends and Insights. (2019).

11 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Cameroon. (2019).

12 , R. E. and E. E. P. Policy and Regulation Overview by Country: Cameroon. (2012).

13 Ministère de l’Eau et de l’Énergie. Plan Directeur d’Electrification Rurale du Cameroun (PDER). (2016). Access/Cameroon_PDER.pdf

14 Cousins, S. The 75 per cent problem: aluminium’s carbon footprint..

15 See assumptions here.

16 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.

Long-term strategy

As of May 2022, Cameroon has not submitted its Long-Term Strategy.

2050 Ambition

To be 1.5°C pathway compatible, Cameroon will need its GHG emissions (excl. LULUCF) to fall in the range of 37% to 60% below 2010 levels by 2050.16

Decarbonisation

In the long term, Cameroon will need to transform its energy sector and reduce its land sector emissions which together account for the majority of the country’s emissions, through reducing deforestation and implementing policies improving agricultural practices.

Sectors

Power

  • Cameroon aims to increase the share of renewables, excluding large hydro, in its power mix to 25% by 2035 which is a step in the right direction towards a diversified power mix.
  • A 1.5°C pathway would require natural gas and oil — contributing 26% and 12% of power supply respectively in 2019 — to be phased out between 2029 and 2034. This would drive a full decarbonisation of the power sector by 2035. The country’s plans to further upscale natural gas capacity undermine Cameroon’s future 1.5°C compatible emissions pathway while running the risk of locking in high carbon infrastructure and creating stranded assets.
  • While Cameroon’s renewable energy commitments are encouraging, they fall far short of what is required to reach 1.5°C compatibility, which would need renewables to account for between 97% and 100% of the country’s electricity mix by 2030.
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Buildings

  • Residential and commercial buildings have consistently been by far the biggest consumers of energy in Cameroon (78% of total final consumption in 2019) mostly driven by the use of biomass.
  • Replacing traditional biomass as the power source with electricity from renewable sources in the buildings sector will be key for decarbonising the sector as well as improving indoor air quality.
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Transport

  • Transport is the second largest contributing sector to the overall energy consumption in Cameroon (14% of total final consumption in 2019). An uptake of electricity to 33 to 43% by 2050 will be key to decarbonising the transport sector by replacing and supplementing oil, if produced out of renewable energy sources and in a sustainable way.
  • The expansion of transport infrastructure which Cameroon is planning should also consider and integrate low-carbon modes of transport such as the development of urban mass transport services.
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Industry

  • The industry sector contributed about 5% to the overall energy consumption in Cameroon in 2019, consuming 56% of total electricity. The biggest consumer of energy was the aluminium industry (smelting), with a share of about 45%, followed by the mining and cement industries.
  • Under 1.5°C pathways, 72% of Cameroon’s industrial production should have been electrified in 2019 and this share should grow to approximately 82% in 2030, and at least 94% in 2050 while the share of oil decreases. Such high electrification level requires investments in grid infrastructure and electricity production capacity.
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Footnotes