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Namibia Ambition gap

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

1.5°C compatible pathways

Namibia’s updated NDC includes an overall mitigation target to reduce emissions to 91% below business as usual (BAU) emissions in 2030, when including LULUCF. The government expects BAU emissions in 2030 to rise “up to 24.1 MtCO₂e/yr”, therefore, if successfully mitigated, emissions in 2030 would be 2.2 MtCO₂e/yr.1

Namibia undertakes to mitigate only 14% of the 91% target unconditionally. The remaining 77% forms the conditional part of its target and requires international support.

Namibia’s official communications identify the AFOLU sector as the key driver of emission reductions. In the NDC update (2021) the government projects that this one sector would account for emissions reductions of 78.7% below BAU by 2030. These reductions would result from land use and forestry measures. Agriculture still produces emissions (predominantly methane).

Due to this high reliance on the land use sector, the conditional portion would amount to a 34% reduction below 2015 levels by 2030 when excluding LULUCF. This is equivalent to emissions of 8 MtCO₂e/yr (excl. LULUCF) in 2030, 1 MtCO₂e below the 1.5°C compatible emissions level of 9 MtCO₂e/yr.

Long term pathway

As of 16 December 2022, Namibia has not communicated a long-term strategy or set a net zero target. A 1.5°C compatible pathway could be achieved if Namibia was able to reduce its total CO₂ sufficiently to 0-1 MtCO₂/yr by around 2050. By 2050, greenhouse gas emissions (excl. LULUCF) decline 46-67% below 2015 levels. Remaining emissions are largely harder-to-abate agricultural emissions (primarily methane).

1 Republic of Namibia. Namibia’s NDC Update. (2021).

2 Republic of Namibia. Fourth Biennial Update Report (BUR4) to the UNFCCC. (2021).

3 Ministry of Mines and Energy. National Energy Policy. (2017).

4 United Nations Environment Programme. Atlas of Africa Energy Resources. (2017).

5 IEA. Data & Statistics – IEA. consumption&indicator=ElecConsPerCapita (2021).

6 Net Zero Tracker. Namibia profile. (2022).

7 Ministry of Mines and Energy. National Renewable Energy Policy. (2017).

8 IRENA. Energy Profile: Namibia. (2022).

9 Namibia Power Corporation. NamPower – Ruacana Power Station. (2022).

10 Republic of Namibia. Fourth National Communication to the UNFCCC. (2020).

11 There is no data for the commercial and public buildings sector before 1996.

12 Note that a Carbon Tax – starting at N$40 per g/km of CO₂ in the 2016-2020 transition period – is mentioned in the 4th Biennial Update Report (BUR4), published in early 2021, however, there is no mention of any extension in the NDC submitted to the UNFCCC in late 2021.


Namibiaʼs total GHG emissions

excl. LULUCF MtCO₂e/yr

Displayed values
Reference year
Reference year
1.5°C emissions level
NDC (conditional)
NDC (unconditional)
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

The energy system is dominated by the use of liquid fuels, predominantly used in the transport sector. Namibia’s NDC estimates that the energy sector would be responsible for emissions reductions of 11.6% below BAU in 2030.1

Expanding access to electricity in the rural areas and providing additional capacity for economic expansion, without also increasing GHG emissions, necessitates increasing the share of renewables in the total primary energy supply (TPES). From 2014-2019 the share of renewables in TPES increased from 35% to 39%.8

Across all analysed 1.5ºC pathways, renewable energy (incl. biomass) increases in the primary energy mix out to 2050. Analysed pathways show that for Namibia to rapidly increase energy supply and stay within a 1.5°C pathway, higher energy demand would need to be met with a rapid increase in renewable energy. These pathways that show more renewables also show higher electrification of end-use sectors.


Namibiaʼs 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

Namibiaʼs 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 Namibia. 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
8 to 10
6 to 8
4 to 7
Relative to reference year in %
−36 to −21%
−56 to −38%
−67 to −46%
Total CO₂
2 to 3
1 to 2
0 to 1
Relative to reference year in %
−41 to −18%
−84 to −54%
−98 to −70%