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Serbia In brief

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

Economy wide

Submitted in August 2022, Serbia’s updated Nationally Determined Contribution sets a stronger emissions reduction target of 13.2% below 2010 levels by 2030. Although the NDC is described as an ‘economy-wide’ target, it doesn’t include the land use, land-use change and forestry sector (LULUCF).1 The updated target translates to an absolute emissions level of about 54 MtCO₂/yr by 2030 excluding LULUCF, and about 48 MtCO₂/yr including LULUCF.

Serbiaʼs total GHG emissions

excl. LULUCF MtCO₂e/yr

Displayed values
Reference year
Reference year
1.5°C emissions level
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 ambition

Our analysis of 1.5°C compatible pathways suggests that Serbia need to reduce emissions by 44–54% by 2030 compared to 2010 levels, excluding LULUCF. There is a significant gap between Serbia’s climate ambition and what would be required under the Paris Agreement.

1 Republic of Serbia. Nationally Determined Contribution ( NDC ) of the Republic of Serbia for the 2021 – 2030 period. (2022).

2 Energy Community. Secretariat welcomes Sofia Declaration on the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans – Energy Community Homepage. (2020).

3 Republic of Serbia. Draft Low Carbon Development Strategy with Action plan. (2019).

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

5 Republic of Serbia. Second National Communication of Turkmenistan Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Eng_Serbia.pdf (2017).

6 IEA. World Energy Balances: 2021 version. (2021).

7 Republic of Serbia. Draft Integrated National Energy and Climate Plan 2021 – 2030 of the Republic of Serbia with a vision by 2050.(2022).

8 Republic of Serbia. Zakon o korišćenju obnovljivih izvora energije – Law on the Use of Renewable Energy Sources. Službeni glasnik RS (2021).

9 eKapija. eKapija | Gde smo godinu dana nakon donošenja Zakona o korišćenju obnovljivih izvora energije – Prikaz regulatornog okvira. (2022).

10 Republic of Serbia. Указ о проглашењу Закона о енергетској ефикасности и рационалној употреби енергије Закон о енергетској ефикасности и рационалној употреби енергије – Decree on Promulgation of the Law on Energy Efficiency and Rational Use of Energy Law on Energy Efficiency. (2021).

11 Ministry of Environmental Protection of the Republic of Serbia. Уредба о условима и начину спровођења субвенционисане куповине нових возила која имају искључиво електрични погон, као и возила која уз мотор са унутрашњим сагоревањем покреће и електрични погон (хибридни погон) | Министарство заштите животне средине – Regulation on the conditions and method of implementing the subsidized purchase of new vehicles that have an exclusively electric drive, as well as vehicles that, in addition to the internal combustion engine, are powered by an electric drive (hy…. (2022).

12 Balkan Green Energy News. Građanima Srbije i u 2023. subvencije za kupovinu električnih i hibridnih vozila. (2022).

13 EconStor. EconStor: Orient/East-Med Corridor: Challenges and potentials. (2019).

14 Srbijatransport Beograd. Saobraćajni sistem Srbije. (2020).

15 Using projected LULUCF emissions by 2030 from Serbia’s NDC document to estimate the absolute emissions level including LULUCF. See assumptions here.

Net zero GHG

Serbia has not officially communicated a net zero target. However, through its participation in the Energy Community, an international organisation consisting of the European Union and a number of non-EU countries, it has committed to adopting the EU Climate Law which makes achieving climate neutrality by 2050 legally binding.2

Net zero CO2

Long-term 1.5°C compatible pathways analysed here indicate that Serbia would need to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 4–10 MtCO₂e/yr by 2050, or by 85–93% when compared to 2010 levels excluding LULUCF. This is significantly more than the 55% emissions reduction that the government’s current policies are forecast to achieve.3

Negative emissions

On the road towards net zero emissions, Serbia will need to balance its remaining emissions through different carbon dioxide removal approaches.



  • Serbia’s National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP), currently being drafted, envisages renewables to comprise 49–59% of the power sector energy mix by 2030. While this goal is a step in the right direction, 1.5°C compatible pathways would require an increase in renewable energy share to 85–98% by 2030.
  • The draft NECP also foresees the closure of all thermal power plants by 2050, while 1.5°C aligned pathways would require a phase-out of coal and gas by around 2030. Considering the current 70% share of coal in the power mix, Serbia will need robust policies to decarbonise its power sector.
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  • Energy consumption in the buildings sector increased by 24% in the period from 1990 to 2019. The share of electricity in the energy mix rose from 33% to 43% and the share of fossil fuels increased by 3% in the same period, with gas displacing coal.
  • 1.5°C compatible pathways show the share of electricity in the energy mix increasing from 43% in 2019 to between 56–61% in 2030, and 69–80% in 2050.
  • The government’s 2021 Law on Energy Efficiency and the Rational Use of Energy establishes financial incentives for energy efficient refurbishments. However, it only covers public buildings and businesses. To accelerate the transition and increase energy efficiency throughout, the law should be expanded to include private residential properties.
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  • Energy-related emissions in Serbia’s industrial sector dropped by 47% between 1990 and 2019. Our analysis shows that putting Serbia’s industrial sector on a 1.5°C compatible pathway would require the share of electrification, hydrogen and biomass in the sector’s energy mix to increase to around 72% by 2050, from 43% in 2019, with electricity accounting for the biggest share.
  • Serbia’s Law on Energy Efficiency and the Rational Use of Energy includes incentives for increasing energy efficiency of the industrial sector and encourages cogeneration above a minimum benchmark of energy usage.
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  • Passenger transport in Serbia relies on road transport for up to 88% of passenger-kilometres, while the modal split for freight is more balanced, with about 47% taking place by rail. The Serbian government has no policies in place to encourage a modal shift from private cars to public transport.
  • The government subsidises the purchase of an electric vehicle by up to EUR 5,000, but does not have any programmes in place to encourage investments in accompanying infrastructure such as charging points, nor other incentives that would boost the uptake of electric vehicles.
  • Serbia would need to electrify the remaining two thirds of its rail lines, and further invest in rail infrastructure.
  • All 1.5°C compatible pathways analysed here foresee an increase in electrification, reaching between 9–30% by 2030, and 30–72% by 2050. The sector could be fully decarbonised by around 2053.
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