The Republic of Albania is situated in South Eastern Europe, on the western side of the Balkan Peninsula. Albania is bordered by the Adriatic Sea to the west, forming a sandy shoreline, and by the Ionian Sea in the southwest, where the coastline is rocky. The country has borders with Montenegro in the northwest, Kosovo in the northeast, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in the east, and Greece in the south and southeast. Seventy percent of Albania’s territory is mountainous, with an average altitude of 700 m above sea level and rising to a maximum altitude of 2,753 m in the eastern area (Mount Korab). The geological and climatic characteristics of the country have resulted in the existence of an extensive network of rivers and lakes. Their mixed flow regimes are especially influenced by prevailing rainfall and snow. Albania has many natural and artificial lakes.
Albania is a developing country, with a per capita GDP of USD 11,840 (PPP) (source: IMF WEO April 2017 edition GDP [PPP] per capita, international dollars). The country’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are relatively low, although Albania is committed to reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 11.5 percent compared to the baseline scenario for the period 2016–2030. The main mechanisms for achieving this objective are related to maintaining the low level of GHG emissions from the energy production sector and developing low-carbon policies in order to prevent the increase of GHG emissions from other sectors of the economy.
Albania’s third GHG inventory considers five main emission sources — energy, industrial processes, agriculture, waste and land-use change and forestry (LUCF) — as recommended by the 1996 revised Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Guidelines and the IPCC Good Practice Guidelines (solvents were not considered). Estimates of key sources and aggregated GHG emissions and removals, expressed as CO2 equivalent, were also provided. The inventory covers the refined time series for the period 2000–2009, with 2005 as the base year.
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The energy and transport sector
The energy and transport sector, including fuel combustion technologies, are the main source of GHG emissions in Albania. Energy production in Albania is based mainly on hydropower, domestic and imported fuels, and fuel wood use for electricity production, heat production and transport. Emissions of CO2 from the energy sector account for 97.07 percent of overall emissions in 2005. The transport subsector contributed 45.06 percent of overall CO2 emissions in 2005, and road transport is by far the main contributor.
The energy baseline scenario extended to the year 2030 assumes that:
- the current structure of energy supply and demand will remain in all economic sectors;
- the use of electrical energy for heating and hot water will continue to prevail in the residential and service sectors;
- a considerable share of future demand for electricity will be covered by the extension of thermal generating capacities (based on imported natural gas) and hydro energy;
- the planned short-term measures from the first National Energy Efficiency Action Plan (NEEAP) and National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP) will not be strictly implemented; and
- national energy intensity will not decrease significantly during the period 2009–2030, compared to the mitigation scenario.
The “with measures” scenario foresees a CO2eq reduction of 8.26 percent by 2020, and a CO2eq reduction of 14.91 percent by 2030, based on the use of different energy technologies.
Albania, as a contracting party to the Energy Community Treaty, and in the context of the EU accession process, must achieve alignment with the EU 20-20-20 objectives. In order to reach compliance with the relevant EU directives, Albania adopted the National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP) by Government Decree No. 27, dated January 20, 2016, and the Law on Energy Efficiency No. 124, dated November 12, 2015, and has set quantified objectives related to energy efficiency (9 percent) and renewable energy sources (38 percent) by 2018 and 2020 respectively, compared to 2009. A new law on the energy performance of buildings and a national energy efficiency plan is expected to be finalised in 2018. The final draft of the Sustainable Transport Plan (STP) has also been approved. All these strategic documents contain several measures that have a GHG mitigation effect and employ technological solutions to reach the quantified energy efficiency (EE) and renewable energy sources (RES) targets.
The industrial sector has recorded very positive developments during the last decade. Albania is known for its reserves of chromium, iron, nickel and copper, and their exploitation and processing is an important economic activity. In 2011, the mineral sector accounted for about 16 percent of the value of industrial production and about 2 percent of the GDP. Industrial production increased by 6.1 percent in the second quarter of 2014 compared to the same quarter in the previous year, and averaged 2.59 percent between 2002 and 2014.
The industrial sector has been split into several subsectors: the metallurgical, chemical, construction materials, mining, food/drinks/tobacco, textile/leather/shoes, and wood/paper/printing/mechanical industries. Emissions from the industrial sector are increasing due to the accelerated annual growth rate of metal and cement production. The main sources of emissions were the cement industry, followed by metal production. Both types of emissions have increased compared to 2000. In 2000, CO2 emissions from cement production were 38.46 percent of the total CO2eq emissions from the industrial sector, while in 2009, emissions increased to 39.32 percent of the total. Metal production has lower emissions, but the highest growth rate. In 2000, CO2 emissions were 31.73 percent of total CO2eq emissions from the industrial sector, while in 2009 this figure increased to 47.15 percent of the total.
The industrial sector also has a greater interest in climate change policies due to its contribution to GHG emissions generation. Several pieces of primary and secondary legislation have been developed and enacted by the relevant Albanian institutions for the industrial sector, including the Law on the Mining Sector in the Republic of Albania, No. 10304, dated July 15, 2010. The National Strategy for Development and Integration (NSDI) also aims to reduce GHG emissions through policy guidelines and goals for most sectors, including industry, although no specific emissions reduction or carbon uptake targets have been defined for each sector.
Albania selected the following measures and technology improvements for the industrial sector in order to reduce GHG emissions:
- the implementation of EE targets based on the first NEEAP and the draft second and third NEEAP;
- the implementation of RES targets based on the endorsed NREAP;
- the introduction of efficient boilers fired by heavy fuel oil for industrial consumers;
- the introduction of efficient coal-fired boilers for industrial consumers;
- the introduction of efficient electrical motors for industrial consumers;
- the improvement of the power factor for industrial consumers;
- the introduction of efficient lighting for industrial consumers;
- better management to reduce energy consumption;
- the introduction of district heating schemes in industrial zones; and
- the introduction of combined heat and power (CHP) and district heating schemes in industrial zones.
Agriculture is one of Albania’s main economic sectors, contributing approximately 20 percent of the value added in the economy. Nevertheless, developments and structural reforms are necessary in order to achieve the sustainable development of the sector. Through its current activities, the agricultural sector releases significant amounts of CO2, CH4 and N2O into the atmosphere. Fluxes of these gases can be reduced by the more efficient management of the flows of carbon and nitrogen in agricultural ecosystems. Despite the fact that GHG emissions show a slow decreasing tendency over the years (see Figure 2), with the introduction of certain measures emissions could be significantly decreased in this sector, also. A list of measures to be introduced to achieve greater GHG emissions reductions has been identified by Albania, and comprises:
- cropland management;
- grazing land management and pasture improvement;
- organic soils;
- livestock management;
- manure management; and
The waste sector raises serious concerns, as waste management is very weak, or in certain cases non-existent, in Albania. According to current practices, waste management is a decentralised activity, belonging to local governments, who have either very weak or no capacities to manage waste. Waste management in cities is usually outsourced to private companies, who have to deal with waste collection and transportation. Rural areas are not yet covered by waste management services. In most rural areas, waste is disposed of directly into rivers or next to roads. Waste is often carried by watercourses into a different region, while also contaminating the water. Municipal waste contains a high percentage of organic waste, and there are no recycling procedures in place to reduce the amount of organic waste being deposited in landfills and dumpsites, which do not meet EU requirements. Organic waste in landfills is the main source of CH4 emissions in the country.
The recycling industry is just starting to develop, although there are no available technologies to date. Most waste is burned or disposed of unsafely in legal and illegal dumpsites. There are several private companies that recycle, collect and process different types of waste, although the separation of waste at source is still a problem. There are still no facilities for handling hazardous, medical and construction waste, and there is no clear procedure in place for the management and control of landfills.
Wastewater management is another problematic area in the waste sector, as wastewater is managed without prior handling and/or treatment. There is a need for a register of wastewater quantities, collection and treatment routes, and industrial wastewater should be treated separately.
In 2013, legislation on waste management was adopted, and management plans are being prepared for a few cities. New investments in waste management are expected to focus more on waste separation and recycling. Albania has in place the National Waste Strategy and the National Waste Management Plan 2010–2025, which are aimed at ensuring significant developments in the future.
The various measures for decreasing GHG emissions from the waste sector up to 2025 include the Government Decree on Landfills, implemented between 2016 and 2025; the operation of landfills; the diversion of biodegradable waste streams from landfills and the closure of dumpsites; the establishment of wastewater treatment systems for most regions; the treatment of 70 percent of wastewater released into the environment; the recycling of 30 percent of all mass recyclables etc.
The LUCF sector includes GHG emissions and removals from six land uses: forests, croplands (CO2), grasslands (CO2), wetlands, settlements and other lands. The main sources of GHG emissions from the LUCF sector are:
- wood removal;
- fuel wood removal;
- harvested wood products;
- biomass burning;
- site preparation for forest plantations;
- shifting cultivation; and
The forestry subsector appears to be a net GHG emitter, because forests are managed in a non-sustainable way, and the level of annual forest cutting is higher than the forest’s natural growth rate. For this reason, the increase in forested areas through plantations and the improvement of the technological process of forest exploitation and wood burning should be a priority. Another problem within this sector is the lack of a cadaster for the whole territory of Albania (waters, pasture, abandoned land, agriculture, bare land, forests, residential areas, roads etc.). There is currently no official institution responsible for a national cadaster. There is a need to monitor forested areas; to have more accurate data regarding afforestation/reforestation; to analyse the effectiveness of silvicultural interventions; and to assess the quality and quantity of burnt forest areas.
Activities under consideration in the LUCF sector to reduce GHG emissions include:
- improving the use of technology in forest harvesting;
- restoring degraded lands;
- ensuring the sustainable protection and management of existing forests;
- focusing on agro-forestry;
- using the short rotation of woody biomass plantations; and
- reverting croplands to other kinds of land cover.
In the forestry subsector, the following activities may be considered in order to achieve GHG emissions reductions:
- the afforestation/reforestation of large timber forests in conjunction with natural regeneration;
- the avoidance of deforestation;
- forest management, including forest regeneration, fertilisation, species choice, the management of uneven-aged stands, reduced forest degradation, longer forest rotations;
- the prevention of wildfires;
- the introduction of insect and disease management programmes;
- the extension of carbon retention in harvested wood products;
- the improved use of technology in forest harvesting; and
- the implementation of technological measures for forest exploitation and wood combustion.
Investing in new forest plantations is important for Albania, and new forested areas should range from 500 to 1,000 hectares per year. As there has been no significant investment in this direction in the last 25 years, increasing the national forest fund through afforestation/reforestation should be considered as a national priority.
Sources of information
- Second and Third National Communications of the Republic of Albania to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
- Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) of the Republic of Albania
- International Monetary Fund World Economic Outlook (IMF WEO) Data, April 2017 Edition