Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Cabo Verde

Overview of greenhouse gases and emissions per capita in Cabo Verde. Are they prepared to meet net zero targets and invest in the energy transition?
Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Cabo Verde
Overview of greenhouse gases and emissions per capita in Cabo Verde. Are they prepared to meet net zero targets and invest in the energy transition?
Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Cabo Verde
Overview of greenhouse gases and emissions per capita in Cabo Verde. Are they prepared to meet net zero targets and invest in the energy transition?

What percentage of global greenhouse gas emissions does Cabo Verde produce?

Cabo Verde produced 0.01% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2021 (the latest date with complete emissions data). This amounted to 709k metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, or MtCO₂e. These emissions represented an increase from 2020 by 2.1%.

In the period from 1990 to 2021 their emissions have increased by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.7% and Cabo Verde has contributed 0.01% of global greenhouse emissions.

CountryCabo Verde
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in USD$1.94bn
Total Greenhouse Gas Emissions in 2021709k
Change in Emissions since 20202.1%
Percentage of Total Emissions (2021)0.01%
Rank – Emitters in 2021175
Total Greenhouse Gas Emissions since 199017.8m
Compound Annual Growth – Emissions since 19902.7%
Percentage of Total Emissions (1990-2021)0.01%
GDP Per Capita (USD)$3.45k
Emissions Per Capita1.3

In 2021, Cabo Verde was the world’s 175th largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions. The largest emitters in the same period were China, the United States, India, Russia and Brazil.

When looking at emissions over time Cabo Verde is the 176th largest emitter since 1990.

Emissions per capita in Cabo Verde – average household carbon footprint

The population of Cabo Verde is 562k. On a per capita basis, they produce 1.3 tonnes of CO2e per person, placing them 170th out of 191 on emissions produced per capita. The biggest per capita emitters are Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Turkmenistan.

What is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Cabo Verde?


75.3% of emissions in Cabo Verde came from Carbon Dioxide (CO2), 13.4% came from Methane (CH4), and 8.6% came from Nitrous Oxide (N2O).


The sector that produced the most emissions in 2021 was the energy industry, producing 534k of GHG emissions, constituting 75.3% of total.

The second and third largest emitting sectors were bunker fuels and agriculture, producing 51.8% and 16% of total GHG in Cabo Verde.


The industry that produced the most energy related emissions was the transportation industry, producing 234k of GHG emissions, constituting 33% of total emissions.

The second and third largest emitting sectors were electricity/heat and building, emitting 226k and 45.9k tonnes of GHG each.

Land Use Change and Forestry

Land use change and forestry (LUCF), such as deforestation and conversion of natural ecosystems to agricultural or urban areas, can have a significant impact on carbon emissions.

  • Trees and other vegetation absorb and store carbon through the process of photosynthesis, and when they are cut down or burned, that stored carbon is released into the atmosphere.
  • Deforestation and other forms of land use change can also reduce the ability of ecosystems to absorb and store carbon in the future. Additionally, the conversion of land for agriculture or urban development can lead to the release of carbon stored in the soil.
  • On the other hand, sustainable forestry practices, such as reforestation and afforestation, can help to remove carbon from the atmosphere and store it in trees and other vegetation.

In the case of Cabo Verde, LUCF had a positive impact on Cabo Verde’s emissions, decreasing their carbon footprint by 62.9k tonnes.

After accounting for land use change and forestry, the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions in Cabo Verde in 2021 was 647k metric tonnes.

How vulnerable is Cabo Verde to the impact of climate change?

The Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative (ND-GAIN) Index

The ND-GAIN Index measures countries’ vulnerability to global challenges, including climate change, and their readiness to improve resilience.

Cabo Verde scores 51.2 on the ND-Gain Index and is classified in the ‘low vulnerability and high readiness’ category of climate change preparedness.

The index aims to assist businesses, governments, and communities in prioritising investments for a more efficient response to global shifts.

It is measured by combining two main components:

  1. Vulnerability: This evaluates a country’s vulnerability to environmental risks and its ability to adapt. It considers health, food and water availability, infrastructure, and ecosystem services. A higher score indicates greater vulnerability to environmental challenges.
  2. Readiness: This measures how well a country can leverage investments to mitigate climate change. It considers economic stability, governance, technology, and infrastructure. A higher score means a country is better prepared to implement resilience strategies.

This ranking helps identify areas where resources and adaptation strategies can be most effectively directed to mitigate risks and enhance resilience.

By combining these dimensions, the index provides a comprehensive approach to measuring countries’ ability to cope with the impacts of climate change.

Low vulnerability and high readiness in Cabo Verde

In terms of readiness to adapt to climate change, Cabo Verde ranks in the below average group. Globally, the average readiness score is 0.424, with Cabo Verde posting a score of 0.452.

They show the greatest strength in governance aspects, while their performance in social aspects requires improvement.

  • Governance readiness refers to the political, legal, and regulatory aspects influencing a country’s adaptation to climate change, including stability, corruption control, and law enforcement.
  • Social readiness refers to the societal factors like inequality, education, and technology infrastructure that affect a country’s ability to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Regarding vulnerability to climate change, Cabo Verde falls into the above average category. Compared to the global average vulnerability score of 0.431, Cabo Verde has a score of 0.427.

Their resilience is most notable in water areas, yet they face significant challenges in health.

  • Water vulnerability refers to the availability and reliability of water resources, critical for economies and livelihoods. Efficient water use and resilient systems are essential as climate change affects precipitation patterns.
  • Health vulnerability refers to the impact of climate change on diseases and medical resources. Innovations can enhance resilience to vulnerabilities affecting human health through food, water insecurity, and extreme weather events.

The formula to calculate the ND-GAIN Index is

GAIN Index=(Readiness Indicators−Vulnerability Indicators+1)×50GAIN Index=(Readiness Indicators−Vulnerability Indicators+1)×50

In this formula:

  • The Readiness Indicators are measured on a scale of 0 to 1, where a higher score means that the readiness is better.
  • The Vulnerability Indicators are also measured on a scale of 0 to 1, but a lower score indicates better vulnerability in this case. 
  • The difference between the Readiness and Vulnerability scores is calculated and then incremented by 1. 
  • Finally, the result is multiplied by 50 to convert the GAIN Index score to a range of 0-100, where a higher score means the situation is better.

Is there a correlation between greenhouse gas emissions and economic growth in Cabo Verde?

In 2021, the gross domestic product (GDP) in Cabo Verde grew by 9.7% from the previous year, with the economy moving from $1.82bn to $2bn. During the same period, carbon emissions increased by 2.1%. Over the ten-year period from 2011 to 2021, GDP declined -2.4%, while emissions decreased by -2.3%.

To put this into context, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of GDP in Cabo Verde over the past ten years was -0.24%, and the CAGR for greenhouse gas emissions was -0.24%.


World Resources Institute, 2022. Climate Watch Historical GHG Emissions. [online] Washington, DC. Available at:

Global Carbon Project, 2023. Supplemental data of Global Carbon Budget 2023 (Version 1.1) [Data set]. Global Carbon Project. Available at:

UNFCCC, 2023. Greenhouse Gas Inventory Data. [online] Available at:

Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative, 2023. ND-GAIN Country Index. [online] Available at:

FAO, 2022. Land-Use Change and Forestry or Agriculture indicators from FAOSTAT Emissions Database. [online] Available at:

OECD/IEA, 2022. CO2 Emissions from Fuel Combustion. [online] Available at:

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