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Jamaica Ambition gap

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

1.5°C compatible pathways

Jamaica’s updated NDC target covers only the energy and LULUCF sectors. The NDC sets an unconditional emissions reduction target of 25.4% below a business-as-usual scenario (BAU) which corresponds to a reduction of around 1.8 MtCO₂e, to a level of 5.3 MtCO₂e. On the condition that it receives adequate international support, the government commits to an emissions reduction of 28.5% below BAU (a reduction of 2.0 MtCO₂e) by 2030.

There are significant discrepancies in Jamaica’s historical emissions between different datasets, but we have estimated its emissions level to be around 14.0 MtCO₂e in 2030 which represents a decrease of 6% compared to 2015 levels, excluding LULUCF.15

Jamaica’s unconditional emissions reduction target alone is 60% higher than the country’s first NDC which aimed at an emissions reduction of between 1.1 to 1.5 MtCO₂e by 2030. The updated NDC covers more sectors beyond energy and LULUCF within its qualitative commitments to include agriculture and waste sectors.

1.5°C compatible pathways assessed here based on PRIMAP-Hist historical emissions data suggest that the country could reduce its emissions by 33–59% below 2015 levels by 2030, excluding LULUCF (or 6-10 MtCO₂e by 2030).

Long term pathway

Jamaica is currently in the process of developing its long-term low-emission development strategy (LT-LEDS).5,12 Our analysis shows that to align with 1.5°C compatible pathways, the country would need to reduce its total GHG emissions excluding LULUCF by 62–86%, leading to emissions levels of 2-6 MtCO₂eq/yr by 2050. LULUCF has so far not had a noticeable effect on total emissions in the country. Jamaica’s updated NDC, which covers the LULUCF sector, includes a target of achieving a sink of -1 MtCO₂e by 2030. While the target is a step in the right direction, the sink will need to be strengthened and coupled with greater emissions reductions in the power and agricultural sectors.

1 Ministry of Energy. National Renewable Energy Policy 2009 – 2030 … Creating a Sustainable Future. Energy Policy. (2010).

2 Cooper, R. Jamaica to run on 50% renewable energy by 2030. Climate Action. (2018).

3 World Bank. Assessment of Jamaica’s Climate Change Mitigation Potential and Implications for its Updated NDC: Sectoral Modelling and Analysis. (2020).

4 Government of Jamaica. Government of Jamaica Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation Biennial Update Report of Jamaica. (2016).

5 World Bank & IBRD. Jamaica’s Long-Term Climate Change Strategy Recommendations. (2021).

6 Gütschow, J., Günther, A. & Pflüger, M. The PRIMAP-hist national historical emissions time series v2.3 (1750-2019). (2021)

7 Climate Watch. Jamaica Climate Change Data. Climate Watch. (2022).

8 IEA. World Energy Balances 2019. (2021).

9 Government of Jamaica. Update of Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) of Jamaica. (2020).

10 OECD. Taxing Energy Use for Sustainable Development – Jamaica. (2018).

11 Government of Jamaica. National Policy for the Trading of Carbon Credits 2010-2030. (2010).

12 NDC Support Facility. Development of 2050 Low Emissions and Climate Resilience Strategy in Jamaica. (2021).

13 Note that there are significant discrepancies between Jamaica’s reported emissions from 2016 in its Biennial Update Report, reflected in the dataset used in this analysis PRIMAP-Hist, and Jamaica’s Long Term Strategy Recommendations based on Climate Watch GHG emissions dataset. As Jamaica’s updated NDC only covers the energy and LULUCF sectors, we have assumed an emissions growth for the IPPU and Waste sectors following the last 10 years trend, and for the agriculture sector, that the share of emissions in 2030 remains the same as the current share in total GHG emissions.

14 Ministry of Science, Energy & Technology. Integrated Resource Plan A 20 Year Roadmap to Sustain and Enable Jamaica’s Electricity Future. (2018).

15 Historical reported emissions for the agriculture sector are deviating significantly from the PRIMAP-Hist – Country reported 2021 dataset to other third party reported GHG – such as the CAIT Climate Watch dataset used in recent studies to inform the development of Jamaica’s Long Term Strategy. On the total GHG emissions excluding LULUCF in 2017 for example, the difference is of around 60%.
In order to assess Jamaica’s NDC we have used the PRIMAP-Hist Country Reported dataset, also used for the estimation of the 1.5°C compatible benchmarks. As Jamaica’s updated NDC covers only the energy sector and the LULUCF sector, we have assumed an emissions growth for the IPPU and Waste sectors following the last 10 years trend, and for the agriculture sector that the share of emissions in 2030 remains the same as the current share over total GHG emissions.

16 Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation. Third National Communication (Issue October).


Jamaicaʼs total GHG emissions

excl. LULUCF MtCO₂e/yr

Displayed values
Reference year
Reference year
1.5°C emissions level
  • 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
1.5°C emissions level
Ref. year 2015

Energy system transformation

Jamaica’s BAU scenario for 2030 estimates that the country’s emissions would be at 8.2 MtCO₂e by 2030.

Jamaica’s current energy mix (as of 2019) consists of 92% fossil fuels and 8% renewable energy, including from both variable and conventional sources (IEA World Energy Balances 2021). While the country will need to sharply increase its renewable sources to be compatible with 1.5°C trajectories, its national energy policy (the Integrated Resources Plan) is currently undergoing an update process where a new commitment of 50% renewable energy by 2030 is expected to be set and formalised, indicating increased ambition.


Jamaicaʼs primary energy mix

petajoule per year

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

Jamaicaʼs 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 Jamaica. 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
6 to 10
3 to 7
2 to 6
Relative to reference year in %
−59 to −33%
−80 to −52%
−86 to −62%
Total CO₂
2 to 4
0 to 2
0 to 1
2039 to 2065
Relative to reference year in %
−71 to −49%
−104 to −78%
−104 to −93%