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Philippines Ambition gap

What is The Philippinesʼ pathway to limit global warming to 1.5°C?

1.5°C compatible pathways

The Philippines updated its NDC in April 2021. The Philippines first NDC was a 70% reduction below an unspecified business-as-usual baseline by 2030, conditional on international support. The second NDC included both an unconditional and a conditional target, 2.71% and 72.29% reduction from a cumulative BAU, respectively.

As the BAU baseline was not reported in the original NDC it is difficult to determine if the updated NDC was more ambitious. The unconditional target is calculated to be equivalent to 383-423 MtCO₂e/yr in 2030 (excluding LULUCF). The new conditional target is calculated to be equivalent to 34-45% below 2015 levels (excluding LULUCF) or 100-120 MtCO₂e/yr in 2030 (excluding LULUCF).18

The Philippines’ new conditional NDC is consistent with a 1.5˚C compatible pathway.1

Our models show that a 1.5°C compatible pathway would require emissions peaking as soon as possible, and then decline to 41% below 2015 levels by 2030, when excluding LULUCF emissions.

Under the Paris Agreement, international support, including finance, technology transfer and capacity building, will be needed for The Philippines’ to close the emissions gap between its fair share and its domestic emissions pathway.

Long term pathway

A Paris Agreement compatible pathway would require emissions decreasing to 36-58 MtCO₂e/yr by 2050 or 68-80% emission reduction below 2015 levels by 2050, excluding LULUCF.17 The sectoral emissions remaining in 2050 would be agriculture and waste in all scenarios, as well as industry in some scenarios.

Agriculture emissions are mainly from rice cultivation, digestive processes in animals and livestock manure.7 Modelling suggests that agriculture emissions, along with waste emissions, may continue as a source of emissions in the future under a 1.5°C compatible pathway, but at lower levels, requiring reduction policy in these sectors. On the road to net zero, the country will need to balance its remaining GHG emissions through the use of carbon dioxide removal approaches such as land sinks.

1 Climate Action Tracker. Philippines. November 2020 update. Climate Action Tracker. (2020).

2 Ahmed, S. J. Philippines Power Sector Can Reach Resilience by 2021 COVID-19 Reveals Regulatory Weaknesses and the Need for Improved Incentives and Policies. (2020).

3 Department of Energy. Draft Philippine Energy Plan. (2020).

4 IEA. Philippines – Countries & Region. International Energy Agency. (2020).

5 FAO. FAOSTAT – Agriculture Total. (2019).

6 Plaza, A. B. Ditch NIMBY to fix Philippines’ municipal solid waste problem. Asian Development Bank. (2017).

7 Climate Transparency. Philippines Country Profile. (2020).

8 Department of Energy of the Philippines. National Renewable Energy Programme (NREP). in (2011).

9 Department of Energy. Philippine Energy Plan 2018 – 2040. (2020).

10 Department of Energy. Memorandum:Advisory on the Moratorium of Endorsements for Greenfield Coal-Fired Power Projects In Line with Improving the Sustainability of the Philippines’ Electric Power Industry. (2020).

11 De Torres, A. Why the midstream and downstream natural gas industries development bills are climate-blind. (2021).

12 Reynolds, S. No Guaranteed Future for Imported Gas in the Philippines. IEEFA (2021).

13 Simeon, L. M. Philippine transport sector to get $15 billion financing from ADB. PhilStar. (2021).

14 Fern. Would BECCS deliver negative emissions? (2021).

15 EndCoal. Global Coal Public Finance Tracker. Last updated: July 2020. (2020).

16 Calculations by Climate Action Tracker. The NDC provides a cumulative BAU for the period 2020-2030. It does not provide information for the absolute emissions levels for 2030. This is calculated from a stakeholder consultation session hosted by the Philippine Climate Change Commission in December 2020.

17 While global cost-effective pathways assessed by the IPCC Special Report 1.5°C provide useful guidance for an upper-limit of emissions trajectories for developed countries, they underestimate the feasible space for such countries to reach net zero earlier. The current generation of models tend to depend strongly on land-use sinks outside of currently developed countries and include fossil fuel use well beyond the time at which these could be phased out, compared to what is understood from bottom-up approaches. The scientific teams which provide these global pathways constantly improve the technologies represented in their models – and novel CDR technologies are now being included in new studies focused on deep mitigation scenarios meeting the Paris Agreement. A wide assessment database of these new scenarios is not yet available; thus, we rely on available scenarios which focus particularly on BECCS as a net-negative emission technology. Accordingly, we do not yet consider land-sector emissions (LULUCF) and other CDR approaches which developed countries will need to implement in order to counterbalance their remaining emissions and reach net zero GHG are not considered here due to data availability.

18 Calculated by the Climate Action Tracker, currently unpublished.


The Philippinesʼ total GHG emissions

excl. LULUCF MtCO₂e/yr

Displayed values
Reference year
Reference year
1.5°C emissions level
2021 NDC (conditional)
2021 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
Current policy projections
2021 NDC (conditional)
1.5°C emissions level
Ref. year 2015

Energy system transformation

A 1.5°C compatible pathway requires the energy sector to shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

In 2017, renewables represented 32% of the total primary energy mix. A 1.5°C compatible pathway shows renewables could be scaled up to represent 81% of primary energy by 2030, 96% by 2040 and 100% by 2050.

This pathway shows an accelerated uptake of renewable energy and electrification (excludes non-energy fossil fuel demand). This scenario includes the transport sector, which can be electrified and powered by renewable energy. Industry also has the potential to decarbonise, for example with energy efficiency improvements, electrifying heat production, or use of green hydrogen.

The high CDR reliance scenario show the application of negative emissions technology using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) by 2030. An accelerated uptake of renewable energy would remove the reliance on this technology. BECCS technology raises several challenges such as indirect emissions, technical barriers, high costs, demands on land use for crops, and biodiversity impacts among others.14 Whereas renewable energy is a cost-effective alternative with sustainable development benefits.


The Philippinesʼ primary energy mix

petajoule per year

SSP1 Low CDR reliance
20192030204020504 000
SSP1 High CDR reliance
20192030204020504 000
Low energy demand
20192030204020504 000
High energy demand - Low CDR reliance
20192030204020504 000
  • Renewables incl. biomass
  • Unabated fossil
  • Nuclear and/or fossil with CCS
  • Negative emissions technologies via BECCS

The Philippinesʼ 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 The Philippines. 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
89 to 124
62 to 71
40 to 56
Relative to reference year in %
−51 to −32%
−66 to −61%
−78 to −69%
Total CO₂
48 to 67
11 to 34
0 to 14
2051 to 2067
Relative to reference year in %
−52 to −33%
−89 to −66%
−100 to −86%