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Qatar In brief

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

Economy wide

To be compatible with 1.5°C pathways, Qatar would need to reverse its current trend and reduce its GHG emissions by 58% below 2015 levels, reaching 81 MtCO₂e/yr by 2030.

Qatarʼs total GHG emissions

excl. LULUCF MtCO₂e/yr

Displayed values
Reference year
Reference year
1.5°C emissions level
Estimated NDC
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 NDC

In its updated NDC, Qatar sets a 2030 target of reducing emissions by 25% below a business as usual (BAU) scenario; however, it does not provide this BAU scenario in the NDC.1 Using a BAU range based on historical emissions trends and modelled pathways, we estimate that Qatar’s NDC aims for an emissions level of 147–213 MtCO₂e/yr excluding LULUCF. While there is significant uncertainty in the formulation of Qatar’s target, our estimate places it well out of range of being in line with the 1.5°C target.

1 State of Qatar. Nationally Determined Contribution. 2021. NDC.pdf

2 US.Energy Information Administration. Country Analysis: Qatar. 2015.

3 World Bank. GDP (current 2010 US$) dataset. 2021.

4 Gütschow, J.; Günther, A.; Jeffery, L.; Gieseke, R. The PRIMAP-hist national historical emissions time series (1850-2018) (Version 2.2). Preprint at (2021).

5 Our World in Data. Where in the world do people emit the most CO2? 2019.

6 International Energy Agency. Energy data and statistics. 2021.

7 Sayeed, M. 2016. Qatar’s National Emission Inventory. Academia. 2016.

8 Krarti, M., Ali, F., Alaidroos, A. & Houchati, M. Macro-economic benefit analysis of large scale building energy efficiency programs in Qatar. International Journal of Sustainable Built Environment 6, 597–609 (2017).

9 IRENA. Regional Trends. 2022.

10 International Renewable Energy Agency. Statistics Time Series. 2021.

11 QatarEnergy. Sustainability Report 2020. 2020. 2020 Sustainability Report.pdf

12 International Trade Administration. Qatar Electric Vehicles Challenges and Opportunities. 2021.

13 IEA. CO2 Emissions Statistics. 2019.

14 Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics. Qatar Second National Development Strategy 2018-2022. 2018.

15 Hassabou, A. M. & Khan, M. A. Energy Efficient & Sustainable Buildings: Integration with solar assisted air-conditioning technology in Qatar-A Step towards Grid Free Zero Carbon Living. (2018) doi:10.18086/eurosun2018.06.15.

16 Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics. Qatar Second National Development Strategy 2018~2022. 2018.

17 Gas Exporting Countries Forum. Qatar (Member). 2019.

18 Bloomberg. King of LNG Undercuts Rivals to Keep Dominating World Market. 2021.

19 BBC News. Qatar Crisis: What you need to know. 2017.

20 Al-Buenain, A. et al. The Adoption of Electric Vehicles in Qatar Can Contribute to Net Carbon Emission Reduction but Requires Strong Government Incentives. Vehicles 3, 618–635 (2021).

21 International Trade Administration. Qatar Electric Vehicles Challenges and Opportunities. Market Intelligence. 2021.

1.5°C compatible emissions levels

To be compatible with 1.5°C pathways, Qatar would need to reverse its current trend and reduce its GHG emissions by 58% below 2015 levels, reaching 81 MtCO₂e/yr by 2030.

Fossil fuels

The exploration of oil and gas has increased steeply over the past two decades in Qatar making it one of the world’s largest exporters of crude oil and liquified natural gas (LNG), leading to fugitive emissions accounting for around a third of its national carbon footprint.2,5 While fossil fuel exploitation has been strongly correlated with economic growth in Qatar,3 GHG emissions (excluding LULUCF) have also increased dramatically: by 644% from 26 MtCO₂e in 1990 to 196 MtCO₂e in 2019.4 Qatar is the country with the highest CO₂ emissions per capita in the world.5

2050 Ambition

To be 1.5°C compatible, Qatar would need to reduce its GHG emissions by around 90% below 2015 levels by 2050 reaching a level of 18 MtCO₂e/yr. Remaining emissions will need to be compensated by negative emissions technologies to head towards net zero emissions.

Long-term pathway

++Qatar has not yet released long-term targets, but according to QatarEnergy’s 2020 Sustainability Report, Qatar has indicated it will announce such details in the near future.11



  • Qatar depends entirely on gas-fired power plants for electricity generation and has provided no plans to phase out fossil fuels from its power system.
  • To be compatible with a 1.5°C pathway, Qatar would need to ramp up electricity generation from renewable energy sources, for which it has high potential, reaching a 62–81% share by 2040, while displacing gas-powered generation in the process. Gas would need to be phased out between 2040 and 2049 and the power mix should be almost entirely based on renewables by 2050 (up to 99% in Qatar’s electricity generation mix).
  • The grid carbon intensity would need to be reduced by 23–31% below 2019 levels by 2030, and reach zero between 2040–2046.
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  • Mirroring the overall steep economic growth in Qatar over the past two decades, the country’s industry sector grew rapidly over this period. This has led to a rise in emissions, mostly driven by the oil and gas industry, petrochemicals (fertilizers) and metal (steel and aluminium production).7 In 2018, the industry sector accounted for the largest share in total final energy consumption (44%) in the country.6 Fugitive emissions together with fuel combustion accounted for around 35% and 31% of total national emissions respectively, in 2017.
  • With the world’s third largest fossil gas reserves, Qatar aims to reclaim its mantle as the world’s top LNG supplier with huge expansion plans. This would undermine the country’s contribution to achieving the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting warming to 1.5°C.
  • To be aligned with derived 1.5°C pathways, energy-related industry sector emissions from combustion in Qatar would need to decline by roughly a third by 2030, and around 80% by 2050, compared to 2019 levels.
  • Direct and indirect electrification are two key levers to decarbonise the sector. In 1.5°C pathways, the direct electrification rate of Qatar’s industry sector increases from 12% in 2019 to around 20% in 2030, and 36–60% in 2050.
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  • Energy consumption in residential and commercial buildings in Qatar has grown moderately in the past two decades. In 2018, the buildings sector accounted for 12% of total final energy demand, mostly used for cooling.6
  • To be compatible with a 1.5°C pathway, electricity’s share in buildings’ final energy demand would need to rise from 94% in 2019 to around 100% by 2050.
  • Implementing energy efficiency measures (including both building renovations and appliance retrofitting) in new and existing buildings in Qatar can significantly reduce annual energy consumption and electricity peak demand leading to significant carbon emission reductions.8 This could be achieved through innovative financing mechanisms to improve building envelopes, and by strengthening building codes.
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  • Transport energy demand has increased about four-fold over the past two decades. In 2018, the transport sector accounted for 18% of final energy demand in Qatar.6
  • To be aligned with 1.5°C pathways, transport sector CO₂ emissions would need to decline by at least a third below 2019 levels by 2030, and at least three quarters by 2050.
  • The share of electricity in the transport sector should rise to between 43–63% by 2050. Besides direct electrification, hydrogen and biofuels provide other levers with which to decarbonise the transport sector, although the latter faces sustainability constraints. The combined share of electricity, hydrogen and biofuels in the transport sector reach 66–87%.
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