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Zimbabwe In brief

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

Economy wide

International support will be needed to help the country implement a 1.5°C compatible domestic emissions pathway, which requires a reduction of 46% below 2015 levels by 2030, whereas the NDC’s target is equivalent to 57% above 2015 levels by 2030, excluding LULUCF.

Zimbabweʼs 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 NDC

Zimbabwe’s 2021 updated NDC target is a conditional 40% per capita emissions reduction across all sectors of the economy, below the projected business as usual scenario by 2030, relative to the 2017 emission baseline.2

1 Ministry of Environment Climate Tourism and Hospitality Industry. Long-term Low Greenhouse Gas Emission Development Strategy (2020-2050). (2019).

2 Republic of Zimbabwe. Revised Nationally Determined Contribution. (2021).

3 Zimbabwe Power Company. Hwange Power Station – Zimbabwe Power Company.

4 Ministry of Environment Water and Climate. Zimbabwe’s Third National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. (2016).

5 Ministry of Environment Climate Tourism and Hospitality Industry. Zimbabwe’s First Biennial Update Report to the UNFCCC. (2020).

6 Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) 2021-2025. (2019).

7 UNDP. Bright days ahead as the National Energy Policy is unveiled in Zimbabwe. (2012).

8 Murwira, S. “No electricity for cooking”: Droughts in Zimbabwe cut the lights in poor households – climatetracker. Climate Tracker (2021).

9 Ministry of Energy and Power Development. National Renewable Energy Policy. (Ministry of Energy and Power Development, 2019).

10 South Africa’s Eskom supplies Zimbabwe with 400 megawatts of power | Africanews.

11 Ministry of Energy and Power Development. National Renewable Energy Policy. vol. 1 (2019).

12 WorldBank. Access to electricity (% of population) – Zimbabwe | Data. (2021).

13 IEA. Zimbabwe Country Profile. IEA – Countries & Regions. (2022).

14 See assumptions for the NDC quantification here:

15 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.

16 Global Forest Watch. Zimbabwe. GFW. (2022).

Long-term strategy

Zimbabwe’s Long-term Low Greenhouse Gas Emission Development Strategy (2020-2050) identifies an economy-wide approach to reduce emissions with an estimated abatement potential of up to 33 MtCO₂e by 2050, or around 50% GHG emissions reductions from BAU.1,15

Emissions reductions

Reductions from the AFOLU sector are expected to provide nearly half of the abatement (47%), followed by those from the energy (44%), waste (6.1%), and IPPU (2.7%) sectors.1

2050 Ambition

1.5°C compatible pathways would require the country to reduce its GHG emissions by 54-74% below 2015 levels by 2050 excluding LULUCF.



  • Zimbabwe’s power sector, which relies mostly on coal (53%), followed by renewable energy at 47%, would need to be 96-98% renewable energy based by 2030 to reach full decarbonisation at the latest by 2035.
  • To avoid a carbon lock-in and stranded assets, coal would need to be phased out in the early 2030’s, depending on the model analysed, combined with the reduction of fossil fuel based power imports from neighboring countries. In contrast, however, in 2018 Zimbabwe undertook to increase Hwange coal plant’s generation capacity from 920 MW to 1520 MW.3
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  • The building sector plays a minor role in Zimbabwe’s carbon footprint (around 1% of total GHG in 2017).
  • The sector’s energy consumption is expected to grow in response to increasing demand.
  • To support the sector’s decarbonisation in line with the 1.5°C compatible pathways, its electrification rate would need to increase from around 4% of the energy demand in 2019 to around 30-37% by 2030.
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  • The mineral and metal industries dominate Zimbabwe’s industry sector, but the sector only contributes 4% (when excl. LULUCF) to Zimbabwe’s total emissions (in 2017).
  • Process emissions have trended downward between 2000 and 2017 due to performance decline of the industry sector and the overall contraction of the economy.
  • By increasing the share of electricity to around just below 50% by 2030 in the industry sector’s energy demand, Zimbabwe could achieve close to a full decarbonisation of the industrial sector by the mid-2030s.
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  • The transport sector is almost completely reliant on oil (95% of its fuel mix), with some biofuels in the mix.
  • In all the scenarios analysed, the sector is close to fully decarbonised (less than 5 gCO₂/MJ) between 2034 and 2037. Decarbonisation of the sector will be mostly driven by electrification and increased share of biofuels in the fuel mix, reaching 7-27% by 2030 and 50-82% by 2030 respectively.
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