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Cameroon Current situation

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

Emissions profile

In the past decade, Cameroon has seen a significant increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions attributable to the energy sector and decrease in GHG emissions from the agriculture sector in absolute terms. The country’s 2021 updated NDC reports that in 2010, 69% (24.07 MtCO₂eq) of Cameroon’s GHG emissions came from the agriculture sector while the energy sector contributed 18% (6.14 MtCO₂eq).1 The remaining amount was distributed between the waste sector with 12% (4.32 MtCO₂eq) and industrial processes sector with 1% (0.52 MtCO₂eq). Other sources (PRIMAP-Hist) reported that in 2017, the energy sector had replaced the agriculture sector as the largest emitting sector accounting for 49% (21.37 MtCO₂eq) of Cameroon’s GHG emissions excluding LULUCF, while the agriculture sector only contributed 34% (14.70 MtCO₂eq). The waste and industrial processes sectors both increased their share of GHG emissions in percentage and absolute amounts to 11% (4.75 MtCO₂eq) and 6% (2.61 MtCO₂eq). From 2010 to 2017, methane consistently remained the main GHG contributing to about 50% of emissions, mostly coming from agriculture.

The significant increase in GHG emissions from the energy sector could partially be explained by the rapid demographic growth of the country. The total population of Cameroon has grown from 20.3 million in 2010 to 26.5 million in 2020.2 The growing population and accelerating industrial development are expected to rapidly increase the electricity demand in the next decade.3

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).

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).

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.

Cameroonʼs current GHG emissions


Displayed values

By sector

  • Fugitive emissions
  • Combustion
  • Other
  • Agriculture
  • Waste
  • Industry (processes)
Energy (49%)0

By gas

  • CH₄
  • CO₂
  • N₂O
  • Other

Sectors by gas

Industry (processes)

Energy system

Cameroon’s growing energy sector, which accounted for almost half of all of its emissions in 2017 when excluding the LULUCF emissions, is dominated by biofuels and waste which accounted for 67% of the total primary energy supply (TPES) in 2017.4 Following biofuels and waste, crude oil accounted for 18% of TPES in 2017.4 The remaining 15% of TPES is distributed evenly between oil products (6%), natural gas (5%), and hydropower (4%). Other renewable energy sources do not amount to even 1%.

Though Cameroon’s largest exported product is crude petroleum, its crude oil production has been on a declining trend as its reserves are depleted.5,6 Conversely, its natural gas production has been increasing. It has 4.77 trillion cubic feet of proven natural gas reserves ranking 47th globally in terms of volumes of reserves.7

The residential sector, in 2017, accounted for 72% of Cameroon’s final energy consumption followed by the transport sector at 17%, the industry sector at 6%, and the commercial and public service sector at 3%.4 Traditional biomass (firewood and charcoal) constituted 91% of the residential sector’s final energy consumption in 2017.8 Palm oil for biodiesel has also been considered a viable option.9 The use of traditional biomass and palm oil , however, contributes to deforestation in Cameroon. Increasing electrification rate of end-use sectors and access to clean cooking options would significantly curb household biomass combustion, and reduce fossil fuel usage and indoor air pollution.

Climate change has already significantly impacted Cameroon’s traditional patterns of water availability which has led to power shortages as hydropower accounts for over half (62% in 2019) of the country’s electricity production.3,6 The amount of hydropower in the mix is expected to increase to 75% by 2023.3 Cameroon’s 2021 NDC target of increasing the share of renewables, excluding large hydro, in its electricity mix to 25% by 2035 is a step in the right direction towards diversification of the power mix.

Targets and commitments

Economy-wide targets

Target type

Baseline scenario target

NDC target

Overall NDC target:

  • 35% emissions reduction below business-as-usual by 2030.

Unconditional NDC Target:

  • 12% below BAU by 2030 or in absolute emissions of 104,187 Gg CO₂eq.

Conditional NDC Target:

  • 23% below BAU by 2030 or in absolute emissions of 27,361 Gg CO₂eq.

Market mechanism

  • Cameroon supports participation in the financial and cooperation mechanisms provided for in Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. Cameroon is also considering capacity building for effective participation in Article 6 mechanisms.1

Long-term target

  • As of May 2022, Cameroon has not yet submitted a long-term strategy.

Sector coverage


Greenhouse gas coverage


Sectoral targets


  • Increase the share of renewable energies, excluding large hydro, in the electricity mix to 25% by 2035.1
  • Improve access to electricity for populations and industries by quadrupling the production capacity to 6 GW by 2035.1


Strengthen waste management policies (by 2035, all major cities should have landfills with at least 70% methane capture).1