Short introduction on Angola’s emissions

Although CO2 is the driving force behind the temperature changes, other gases such as methane (CH4) also contribute their share to global warming, for example through the exploitation of gas fields, and emissions by livestock. While methane is emitted much less than CO2 on a global scale, it is a much stronger greenhouse gas (GHG). Scientists estimated the relative strength of the important Kyoto greenhouse gases so that we can convert all emissions to an equivalent of CO2 emissions. For example, the emission of one ton of methane has approximately the warming effect of 25 tons of CO2. The factor of 25 reflects the climate forcing on a 100-year time horizon, following the Global Warming Potential presented in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4).

With greenhouse gas emissions of approximately the equivalent of 100.5 mega tonnes of CO2 (Mt CO2eq), Angola contributed 0.21% to the global greenhouse gas emissions of 2017 (rank 54 - incl. EU27 on rank 3). All emissions estimates exclude emissions and absorption from land, which result from activities such as cutting down or planting of forests (Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry: LULUCF). Emissions from bunker fuels (international aviation and shipping) were also excluded, as they are not accounted for in national totals.

For 2030, Angola’s global contribution to greenhouse gas emissions is projected to stay at a similar level of approximately 0.18% (105.9 mega tonnes of CO2 equivalent / rank 59 - incl. EU27 on rank 4). The emissions projections for Angola were derived by downscaling the Shared Socio-Economic Pathways’ (SSPs) “Middle-of-the-Road” baseline marker scenario SSP2. These pathways describe certain narratives of socio-economic developments and were, i.a., used to derive greenhouse gas emissions scenarios that correspond to these developments. SSP2 is a narrative with little shifts in socio-economic patterns compared to historical ones, and is connected to medium socio-economic challenges for both climate mitigation and adaptation. While different models were used for each storyline, per SSP (SSPs1-5) one model was chosen as representative “marker scenario”. As the emissions projections are not readily available on country-level, but national estimates are important, the pathways were downscaled in the aftermath. In 2017, Angola represented 0.39% of the global population. Its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2017 were 0.13% of the global GDP.

Looking at the highest contributing emissions sectors and gases separately, we find that in 2017 the highest contributing emissions sectors were Energy and Agriculture (56.7% and 36.6%). Amongst the greenhouse gases that are considered in the Kyoto Protocol, the strongest contributor with 41.9% was CH4. This was followed by CO2 emissions, with a share of 38.6%. When not considering the sectors and gases independently, but the sector-gas combinations instead, Energy CO2 and Energy CH4 (37.6% and 18.7%) represented the largest emissions in 2017.

Greenhouse gas mitigation and Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC)

In 2015, the majority of countries agreed to the Paris Agreement (PA), with the goal of “Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change” (Article 2.1.a). Countries stated their pledges and targets towards achieving the PA’s goals in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). With Article 4.4 of the Paris Agreement, Parties decided that “Developed country Parties should continue taking the lead by undertaking economy-wide absolute emission reduction targets. Developing country Parties should continue enhancing their mitigation efforts, and are encouraged to move over time towards economy-wide emission reduction or limitation targets in the light of different national circumstances.”

In its NDC, the country communicates that “Angola’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) encompasses for Mitigation purposes both unconditional and conditional measures for the reduction of GHG. The country is committed to stabilize its emissions, and contribute to climate change mitigation by 2030, targeting the following sectors: Power generation from renewable sources; and Reforestation. Angola plans to reduce GHG emissions up to 35% unconditionally by 2030 as compared to the Business As Usual (BAU) scenario (base year 2005). In addition, it is expected that through a conditional mitigation scenario the country could reduce an additional 15% below BAU emission levels by 2030. In achieving its unconditional and conditional targets Angola expects to reduce its emissions trajectory by nearly 50% below the BAU scenario by 2030 at overall cost of over 14.7 billion USD.” (NDC, p. 4). For the conditional part of the contribution, “the Government of Angola will pursue international support to utilize existing and emerging climate finance mechanisms and will encourage investments in green growth development initiatives.” (NDC, p. 10).

For several years, the “Baseline scenario and projections of Unconditional and Conditional mitigation scenarios for Angola” are provided in the NDC (NDC, p. 7). In 2030, the expected BAU emissions would amount to 193.250 MtCO2eq AR4 (GWP: NDC, p. 5), while the unconditional scenario with a reduction of 35% compared to BAU amounts to 125.612 MtCO2eq AR4, and the conditional target of a 50% reduction is quantified to be 96.625 MtCO2eq AR4 (all inclLU). The availability of national estimates of emissions mitigation targets and pathways in line with countries’ NDCs is of great importance when, e.g., aggregating to global emissions to then derive, i.a., the resulting end-of-century warming levels.

The NDC indicates that to “stabilize its emissions by reduction GHG emissions”, the sectors “power generation from renewable sources; and reforestation” are targeted (NDC, p. 6). For the year 2030, projections estimate that “More than 90% of these emissions would come from the Energy sector, making this the privileged area for the development of mitigation options for Angola.” (NDC, p. 6). Nevertheless, with its target “Angola expects to reduce its emissions trajectory by nearly 50% below the BAU scenario across sectors by 2030.” (NDC, p. 6-7). Additionally, “The contribution of Angola is based on the estimation of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) for all economic sectors.” (NDC, p. 5). Therefore, we assess all main IPCC sectors to be covered (Energy, IPPU, Agriculture, LULUCF, and Waste). Regarding the covered gases, Angola adds that “F-gases emissions are not counted as they were considered negligible across the country.” (NDC, p. 5). In total, our assessment of covered sectors and gases results in an estimated 99.9% of 2017’ emissions being targeted by the NDC (based on PRIMAP-hist v2.1 HISTCR exclLU, in AR4).

Reforestation is one key focus of the NDC mitigation actions. Further information is given on the land component of the NDC. “Presently, the potential income from REDD+ projects in the country is considered to be substantial. Calculating the potential emission reductions from REDD+ activities in Angola demonstrates that there is mitigation potential if deforestation is avoided completely. Assuming that the baseline is entirely based on historical emissions, avoided emissions are calculated by multiplying the annual deforestation in Angola, estimated to be 124,800 ha per year (based on numbers from the period 1990-2010), by 82 tC/ha, which is the approximate amount of tons of carbon stored per ha in the country’s forests. Avoiding deforestation, alone, in Angola has the potential to contribute to more than 35 million tons in CO2 emission reductions every year. The budget required is above 500 million USD.” (NDC, p. 13). As explained in Angola’s NDC, “Wood logging is essential to the local population, both economically and socially. The potential for wood curring each year is estimated at 333,000 m3 and the current rate of cutting is estimated to be 85,000 m3 per year. The calculation of CO2 emissions and removals from land use changes and forestry is primarily based on the following main activities: Forestry conversion; Use of biomass; Phase-out of harvested land. The sector is thought to have captured close to 3 million tons of CO2e in 2005, and the country is committed to increase carbon sequestration from the forestry sector to 5 million tons of CO2e per year by 2030.” (NDC, p. 9).

The NDC-assessment is based on Angola’s NDC submitted to the UNFCCC in November 2020.

The Figure below provides additional information, regarding both the baseline emissions used in our assessment and the quantified mitigated pathways for Angola.

Baseline emissions and mitigated emissions pathways based on the country’s Nationally Determined Contribution. In terms of national emissions, we look at the SSP2 baseline marker scenario, and the emissions of all IPCC sectors. Contributions from LULUCF are excluded (exclLU), and the emissions are based on GWPs from AR4. The left panel (a) shows the baseline emissions, indicating the contributions of the Kyoto Greenhouse Gases CO2, CH4, N2O, and the basket of F-gases to the national emissions. If we could extract baseline data exclLU from the NDC, you can see their values as black squares (converted from GWP SAR to AR4 if needed). In the right panel (b), the quantified mitigated emissions pathways are shown, based on information from the country’s NDC and also on non-NDC emissions baselines, per target conditionality and range (marked un-/conditional best/worst). Even though not all countries have targets with different conditionalities or ranges, we need assumptions for all four cases to build one global pathway per conditionality plus range combination and to derive corresponding temperature estimates. Therefore, we indicate these four pathways here. Per combination, we performed several quantifications with differing assumptions and show the median and the minimal and maximal pathways here. Additionally, if we could quantify the targets based on data extracted purely from the NDC - or if the targets were directly given in absolute emissions, these targets are shown as squares (in the GWP originally given in the NDC).


Data sources and further information

  • Historical emissions: PRIMAP-hist v2.1 (Guetschow et al., 2016, 2019).
  • Historical socio-economic data: PRIMAP-hist Socio-Eco v2.1 (Guetschow et al., 2019).
  • Projected emissions and socio-economic data: downscaled SSPs (Guetschow et al., 2020, 2020).
  • NDC quantifications: NDCmitiQ (Guenther et al., 2020, 2021).
  • GDP is given in purchasing power parity (PPP).
  • Main emissions sectors (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC): Energy, Industrial Processes and Product Use (IPPU), Agriculture and LULUCF (Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry), also named AFOLU (Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use), and Waste.
  • Kyoto GHG: basket of several GHGs, namely carbon dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), and since the second Kyoto Protocol period (2013-20) additionally nitrogen fluoride (NF3).
  • Global Warming Potentials (GWPs): GHGs have very different warming potentials. To make them comparable and for aggregation purposes, GWPs are used (how much energy will 1 ton of a certain gas absorb over a defined period of time, relative to the same mass of CO2?).


1 Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), 14473 Potsdam, Germany