Egypt CO2 emissions

2 min read


Khaled Madkour

Senior Carbon Footprint, Sustainability, and Environmental Expert, assistant professor at Ain Shams University

Egypt, officially the Arab Republic of Egypt is a transcontinental country spanning the northeast corner of Africa and southwest corner of Asia by a land bridge formed by the Sinai Peninsula. Egypt is a Mediterranean country bordered by Palestine and Israel to the northeast, the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea to the east, Sudan to the south, and Libya to the west. Across the Gulf of Aqaba lies Jordan, across the Red Sea lies Saudi Arabia, and across the Mediterranean lies Greece, Turkey, and Cyprus, although none share a land border with Egypt.

Egypt is the most populous country in North Africa, the Middle East, and the Arab world, the third-most populous in Africa with over 100 million inhabitants, and the thirteenth most populous in the world. The great majority of its people live near the banks of the Nile River, an area of about 40,000 square kilometres (15,000 sq. mi), where only arable land is found. The large regions of the Sahara Desert, which constitute most of Egypt’s territory, are sparsely inhabited. About half of Egypt’s residents live in urban areas, with most spread across the densely populated centres of greater Cairo, Alexandria, and other major cities in the Nile Delta.

Egypt has one of the longest histories of any country, tracing its heritage along the Nile Delta back to the 6th–4th millennia BCE. Considered a cradle of civilization, Ancient Egypt saw some of the earliest developments of writing, agriculture, urbanization, organized religion, and central governmenti. Iconic monuments such as the Giza Necropolis and its Great Sphinx, as well the ruins of Memphis, Thebes, Karnak, and the Valley of the Kings, reflect this legacy and remain a significant focus of scientific and popular interest. Egypt’s long and rich cultural heritage is an integral part of its national identity, which reflects its unique transcontinental location being simultaneously Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and North African.

Egypt is a developing country, ranking 116th on the Human Development Index. Egypt has a diversified economy, which is the second-largest in Africa, the 33rd-largest economy by nominal GDP, and the 20th-largest globally by PPP. Egypt is a founding member of the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Arab League, the African Union, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and the World Youth Forum. Egypt’s economy depends mainly on agriculture, petroleum imports, natural gas, and tourism; there are also more than three million Egyptians working abroad, mainly in Libya, Saudi Arabia, the Arabian Gulf, and Europe.

This article describes the level of CO2 emissions in Egypt in detail and elaborates on various factors determining it.

CO2 emissions in Egypt per capita

How much GHG does an average person in Egypt emit? This number is not only the sum of emissions from individual commuting, shopping, or energy use. In terms of calculating the average emissions of a citizen, first, we need to calculate the total emissions of a country (including the entire industry, transport, and production) and divide this figure by the number of its inhabitants.
An average Egyptian person emits about 6.85 kg CO2 into the atmosphere daily. Annual CO2 emissions in Egypt per capita sum up to about 2.50 tonnes, Egypt still needs to work harder on reducing.

Egypt’s carbon footprint was 227.72 million tons CO2e in 2018. The Electricity sector represents 42.9% of the total CO2e emissions in Egypt by about 100.4 million tons co2e, followed by the Transportation sector which represents 23.9% of the total emissions in the country by about 56 million tons co2e. Agriculture represents the third sector that contributes to Egypt’s co2 emissions with 13.6% by 31.77 million tons co2e in 2018.

What constitutes our CO2 emissions? There are many factors, the most important of which are industry, transport, and energy production. The average Egyptian person is aware of the fact that humanity has to take action if we want to protect our climate: most Egyptian citizens admit that the situation on Earth is serious and requires immediate action. However, to the same question, few Egyptian citizens answered that they are not sure about the human impact on climate change – we hope that this article will at least slightly change the point of view of the latter part of respondents.

CO2 emissions of Egyptian transport section

Egypt has a widespread transportation network that covers the entire country. With such an excellent transportation network, Egypt has become a great place for tourists. Egypt has one of the oldest Rail systems in the world back in 1833. Egypt’s transit and transportation system are convenient, comfortable, and cost-effective. the public rail and bus system is extremely efficient and covers a lot of areas. The Cairo Metro in Egypt is the first of only two full-fledged metro systems in Africa and the Arab World. It is considered one of the most important recent projects in Egypt. The system consists of three operational lines and work is currying out in the fourth line. These days Cairo Metro lines are one of the cheapest and cleanest ways to travel around the Greater Cairo in Egypt. The government is currently working on expanding the electric high-speed rail network. when the comparison between three major modes of land transportation in Egypt, the bus is the cheapest way to travel around Egypt while trains offer the most convenience and comfortability.

Road transport and Cycling in Egypt

Cycling is a mode of transport in Egypt with 5% of the Egyptian people listing the bicycle as their mode of transport, Is cycling completely CO2-free? Unfortunately, not. A bicycle doesn’t run on petrol, but we do need to provide our bodies with calories to get it moving. Food, its packaging, transportation, and refrigeration – all of these, unfortunately, leave a carbon footprint. Additionally, the production of a bicycle also leaves a carbon footprint. Nonetheless, the bicycle remains the greenest (and healthiest!) mode of transportation mankind has yet invented. How much CO2 do we save by cycling? Over a distance of 10 km compared to a car ride it is already about 2.6 kg CO2! Just imagine how huge a cloud of gas should become to be that heavy! Visualizing it helps realize how huge the real savings are.

Energy sources in Egypt

Renewable energy sources in Egypt

Egypt possesses an abundance of land, sunny weather, and high wind speeds, making it a prime location for renewable energy sources. The Government of Egypt is cognizant of the need for a sustainable energy mix to both address increasing demand, and to move to a more environmentally sustainable and diverse electricity sector. The 2035 Integrated Sustainable Energy Strategy, which builds on previous strategies, emphasizes the importance of renewable energy. Egypt intends to increase the supply of electricity generated from renewable sources to 20% by 2022 and 42% by 2035, with wind providing 14 percent, hydropower 2 percent, and solar 25 percent by 2035. Egypt currently has about 4.34 GW of wind power plants in operation. Also, Egypt’s Solar Atlas states that Egypt is considered a “sunbelt” country with 2,000 to 3,000 kWh/m2/year of direct solar radiation. The sun shines 9-11 hours a day with a few cloudy days. As well, the first Solar Thermal Power Plant at Kuraymat was built in 2011. It has a total installed capacity of 140 MW, A 10 MW power plant has been operating in Siwa, and Benban Solar Park in Egypt added 1.5 GW in total installed capacity in 2019.

By the end of 2019, 94.7% of the country’s electrical production was from fossil fuels, coal (2.77%) and fuel Oil power plants (37.35%) Natural Gas (54.74%), while 1.17% were derived from hydroelectric dam, 0.46% by wind and solar energy, and 3.5% biofuels.

Industry in Egypt

Industry accounted for 30% of GDP in 2019. Major industrial products included textiles, chemicals (including fertilizers, polymers, and petrochemicals), pharmaceuticals, food processing, petroleum, construction, cement, metals, and light consumer goods. The clothing and textiles sector is the largest industrial employer. Greater Cairo, Alexandria, and Helwan are Egypt’s main industrial centers, producing iron and steel, textiles, refined petroleum products, plastics, building materials, electronics, paper, trucks and automobiles, and chemicals.

Future plans for CO2 reducing and offsetting

The average co2 emissions per capita in Egypt was about 2.50 tons co2e in 2018, meaning that every Egyptian citizen has an opportunity to contribute to reducing the climate change impacts by changing some habits which impact on increasing the co2 emissions. the average electricity consumption per capita was about 1500 kwh/year in Egypt, Egyptian citizens can reduce their emissions by about 0.375 tons co2e by reducing the electricity consumption by 50% or using a renewable source of electricity. In Egypt, buses, trains are the most popular form of transport, So if the individual takes a decision to still take a bus instead of riding his vehicle, he will reduce his daily emissions. some minor changes can result in a huge effect.