Short introduction on Mozambique’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 42.1 mega tonnes of CO2 (Mt CO2eq), Mozambique contributed 0.088% to the global greenhouse gas emissions of 2017 (rank 93 - 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, Mozambique’s global contribution to greenhouse gas emissions is projected to stay at a similar level of approximately 0.10% (58.9 mega tonnes of CO2 equivalent / rank 87 - incl. EU27 on rank 4). The emissions projections for Mozambique 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, Mozambique represented 0.37% of the global population. Its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2017 were 0.030% 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 Agriculture and Energy (45.9% and 34.2%). Amongst the greenhouse gases that are considered in the Kyoto Protocol, the strongest contributor with 47.5% was CH4. This was followed by CO2 emissions, with a share of 25.5%. When not considering the sectors and gases independently, but the sector-gas combinations instead, Agriculture N2O and Agriculture CH4 (23.1% and 22.8%) 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, Mozambique communicates as “Type of contribution: Implementation of Policies’ and Programmes’ actions”, for which the country names the following “1. NCCAMS (2013 to 2030); 2. Energy Strategy (being updated and to be approved by 2016); 3. Biofuel Policy and Strategy ; 4. New and Renewable Energy Development Strategy (2011 to 2025); 5. Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Energy from Biomass Energy Strategy (2014 to 2025); 6. Master Plan for Natural Gas (2014 to 2030); 7. Renewable Energy Feed-in Tariff Regulation (REFIT); 8. Mozambique’s Integrated Urban Solid Waste Management Strategy (2013 - 2025); 9. National REDD+ Strategy (in preparation and to be approved in 2016); 10. Renewable Energy Atlas for Mozambique; 11. Project to build and manage two solid waste landfills with the recovery of methane; and 12. Project of Urban Mobility in the Municipality of Maputo.” (NDC, p. 9). The country additionally provides a first estimate of the mitigation effects on a preliminary basis, with the target level being a “total reduction of about 76,5 MtCO2eq [SAR] in the period from 2020 to 2030, with 23,0 MtCO2eq [SAR] by 2024 and 53,4 MtCO2eq [SAR] from 2025 to 2030. These reductions are estimates with a significant level of uncertainty and will be updated with the results from the BUR to be available by early 2018. The implementation of any proposed reduction is conditional on the provision of financial, technological and capacity building from the international community.” (NDC, p. 9). The given emissions estimate seem to follow GWPs from the IPCC SAR, as even though the country states “Fourth Assessment Report”, the additionally provided numerical values for the GWPs are from SAR, rather than from AR4 (NDC, p. 10).

Under the assumption of a linear decrease per period, we calculate the planned absolute reduction in the year 2025 to be 9.2 MtCO2eq SAR, and in 2030 12.2 MtCO2eq. 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. As Mozambique does not provide an estimate of its BAU emissions, target estimates rely on “external” (non-NDC) projections.

Regarding the sectoral coverage, the country declares that “The presently identified actions are related to energy (electricity production, transports and other - residential, commercial and institutional), land use, land use change and forestry (REDD+) and waste (solid waste disposal and treatment). Despite the above identified actions, the country still has potential actions in other sectors such as industry, agriculture including in the other energy sub-sectors.” (NDC, p. 10). Based on this information, from the main IPCC emissions sectors, we currently assume Energy, LULUCF, and Waste to be covered, while IPPU and Agriculture are not covered. Additionally, Mozambique specifies that “The main gases covered in this contribution are: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). In the future, other GHG may be included.” (NDC, p. 10), why we assess F-gases not to be targeted. In total, this results in an estimated 46.1% of 2017’ emissions being targeted by the NDC (based on PRIMAP-hist v2.1 HISTCR exclLU, in AR4).

For Article 6 of the PA (cooperation and markets), “Mozambique is willing to participate in the market mechanisms to be established which would allow access to clean technologies in order to mitigate the emissions arising from exploiting, managing and using the natural capital that is available.” (NDC, p. 9).

The NDC-assessment is based on Mozambique’s NDC submitted to the UNFCCC in June 2018. Relying on “external” non-NDC data (SSP2) and the assessed national share of targeted emissions, for Mozambique we quantify the 2024 conditional target as 80.1 Mt CO2eq AR4 (absolute reduction compared to Business-As-Usual: -9.2 MtCO2eq, inclLU), and estimate the 2030 conditional target as 85.1 Mt CO2eq AR4 (-12.2 MtCO2eq, inclLU).

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

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