Climate commitments need to be more ambitious and tangible

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To reach the goals of the Paris Agreement additional national action is needed.
Source: SSilver /

Parties to the Paris Agreement are updating their plans for climate action. Less than half of the countries analysed as part of a project funded by the German Environment Agency are increasing their ambition. Many are lacking a clear plan for implementation. This is the result of a new methodology, which analyses 20 recently submitted Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

The Paris Agreement includes a five-year cycle to increase climate ambition. Parties to the Paris Agreement are submitting their intended climate action in 2020 / 2021 in so-called Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

The research project “Systematic analysis of the design of new and updated nationally determined contributions under the Paris Agreement” developed a method, which allows for a systematic analysis of the design of the NDC, including a comparison with the previously submitted NDC. Besides an overview of all aspects of the NDC, the focus of the analysis is on the greenhouse gas mitigation component of the NDC.

The design of 20 NDCs has been analysed with this method. The analysis aims to cover all design elements that are critical for enhancing ambition grouped into the overarching categories increased greenhouse gas mitigation ambition, comprehensiveness, implementation plan and transparency.

Of the analysed 20 NDCs, less than half showed higher mitigation ambition compared to their first NDC. In several cases the targets remained unchanged, or were more ambitious than previous targets but did not lead to additional reductions than under a Party’s “current policies”. Others were less ambitious due to changes in parameters such as baseline emissions.

Most of the analysed NDCs covered all relevant greenhouse gases and sectors. As far as the implementation of the NDCs is concerned, the targets and measures have not yet been included in national legislation in many cases, but preparations are underway, especially for those countries that updated their target. Most NDCs provided the required information to facilitate clarity, transparency and understanding.