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Climatic Change

Beyond headline mitigation numbers: we need more transparent and comparable NDCs to achieve the Paris Agreement on climate change

Nationally determined contributions (NDCs) were key to reaching the Paris Agreement and will be instrumental in implementing it. Research was quick to identify the ‘headline numbers’ of NDCs: if these climate action plans were fully implemented, global mean warming by 2100 would be reduced from approximately 3.6 to 2.7°C above pre-industrial levels.
However, beyond these headline mitigation numbers, NDCs are more difficult to analyse and compare. UN climate negotiations have so far provided limited guidance on NDC formulation, which has resulted in varying scopes and contents of NDCs, often lacking details concerning ambitions. If NDCs are to become the long-term instrument for international cooperation, negotiation, and ratcheting up of ambitions to address climate change, then they need to become more transparent and comparable, both with respect to mitigation goals, and to issues such as adaptation, finance, and the way in which NDCs are aligned with national policies.
Our analysis of INDCs and NDCs shows that they omit important mitigation sectors, do not adequately provide details on costs and financing of implementation, and are poorly designed to meet assessment and review needs.
We argue that increased transparency and comparability of NDCs is necessary, and are convinced that research can help to make NDCs a crucial instrument for international cooperation and ratcheting up of ambitions to address climate change effectively.

The paper is based the paper on the NDC Explorer, a freely accessible interactive online tool, which allows you to compare all countries’ NDCs and INDCs through 60 categories.