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Mozambique Ambition gap

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

1.5°C compatible pathways

Through its updated NDC, Mozambique commits to a conditional emissions reduction of 40 MtCO₂e between 2020 and 2025 cumulatively (excl. LULUCF).1 This would translate in emissions reaching 42 MtCO₂e/yr by 2030, or an 11% increase in emissions relative to 2015 levels (38 MtCO₂e/yr) by 2030.10

While analysed 1.5°C compatible pathways indicate a wide range of potential emissions levels by 2030, they reflect the need for emissions levels to reach between 23-36 MtCO₂e/yr by 2030, excluding LULUCF emissions. This is equivalent to an emissions reduction of 2-14 MtCO₂e/yr, or between 6-38% below 2015 levels.

It should be noted, however, that by the country’s own declaration, the targets stated in the NDC are estimates with a significant level of uncertainty, and will be updated based on results from the 2022 Biennial Update Report (BUR).1

It is also noteworthy that afforestation-related emissions and mitigation are not accounted for in the NDC. By some estimates, LULUCF is the largest emitting sector in the country.2 Excluding this sector may therefore significantly alter Mozambique’s mitigation target, and its subsequent trajectory in relation to the Paris Agreement and 1.5°C compatible pathways.

Long term pathway

In its updated NDC, Mozambique articulates that it has received support from the NDC Partnership – Climate Action Enhancement Package to develop its Long-Term Low Carbon Development Strategy (2020-2050).1 However, this is currently not publicly available.

By 2050, the country would need to reduce its emissions to between 18-26 MtCO₂e to be compatible with 1.5°C pathways, equivalent to a 32-54% reduction in emissions relative to 2015 levels.11 Analysed scenarios show the energy sector decarbonising first, between 2040 and 2060, while others show the IPPU sector being the first to fully decarbonise by around 2040. In all scenarios, agriculture persists as a significant source of emissions beyond 2050, while the waste sector is also a minor contributor in certain scenarios.

Efforts to reduce LULUCF emissions, including expanding and accelerating the country’s commitments to limit deforestation and restore forested lands, could create effective national carbon sinks. This can further be driven by reducing traditional biomass consumption and subsequently provide negative emissions allowing to balance its remaining emissions in the long-term.

1 Government of Mozambique. Updated First National Determined Contribution of Mozambique. (2021).

2 USAID. Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Mozambique. (2017).

3 Mozambique LNG. About the Mozambique Liquefied Natural Gas Project. Total Energies. (2020).

4 Mokveld, K. & von Eije, S. Final Energy Report Mozambique. (2018).

5 van der Plas, R. J. et al. Mozambique Biomass Energy Strategy. (2012).

6 IEA. Mozambique Key Energy Statistics, 2019. International Energy Agency. (2022).

7 UN Environment Programme. Protecting the environment in Mozambique’s emerging oil and gas sector. UN Environment Programme UN Environment Programme (2019).

8 Government of Mozambique. Plano de Acção Tecnológica e Ideias de Projecto: Tecnologias de Geração de Electricidade e de Gestão e Tratamento de Resíduos Sólidos Urbanos.(2018).

9 Inter Institutional Group on Climate Change. National Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Strategy. (2021).

10 See assumptions here:

11 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.

12 It should be noted that as of March 2022, Total Energies has declared force majeure on the Mozambique LNG Project due to the prevailing security situation in Cabo Delgado province, where the Project is situated. The future of the Project is therefore uncertain.


Mozambiqueʼs total GHG emissions

excl. LULUCF MtCO₂e/yr

Displayed values
Reference year
Reference year
1.5°C emissions level
NDC (conditional)
Ambition gap
  • 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
NDC (conditional)
1.5°C emissions level
Ref. year 2015

Energy system transformation

While 80% of Mozambique’s energy mix is shown as being renewable in 2019, the vast majority of this is traditional biomass such as wood and charcoal, which have negative health and sustainability implications. 82% of the energy used in Mozambique in 2011 was in the form of traditional biomass, with government projections indicating that this would not change in the following years.5 Mozambique’s uptake of renewable energy would therefore need to facilitate a transition from traditional biofuels to electrification at the household level.

1.5°C compatible pathways would see the share of fossil fuels in Mozambique’s primary energy mix reduce from approximately 20% in 2019 to a maximum of around 2% by 2040, and ultimately be fully phased out by 2050. In 2018, biofuels and waste, electricity, and oil products accounted for most of the energy consumption in the country, and thus hold the greatest potential for achieving significant emissions reductions.4

Lower penetration of renewables would require the development of carbon dioxide removal approaches (CDRs) such as land sinks or bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) to balance residual emissions in the long term. Some models show that up to 10% of the energy mix could be sourced from BECCS between 2040-2050. Such technologies are not yet available in the country, and would require high upfront costs, which could be avoided by implementing stringent policies to reduce land sector emissions.11


Mozambiqueʼs primary energy mix

petajoule per year

SSP1 Low CDR reliance
20192030204020502 000
SSP1 High CDR reliance
20192030204020502 000
Low energy demand
20192030204020502 000
High energy demand - Low CDR reliance
20192030204020502 000
  • Negative emissions technologies via BECCS
  • Unabated fossil
  • Nuclear and/or fossil with CCS
  • Renewables incl. biomass

Mozambiqueʼs 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 Mozambique. 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
23 to 36
20 to 28
17 to 26
Relative to reference year in %
−38 to −6%
−47 to −26%
−54 to −32%
Total CO₂
7 to 10
2 to 7
1 to 6
Relative to reference year in %
−8 to 37%
−70 to −3%
−89 to −19%