How Countries Are Fulfilling Their Paris Climate Commitments

The Paris Agreement entered into force on November 4, 2016. As part of the Agreement, countries put forward nationally determined climate commitments. This week, several countries presented an update on their national climate policies, proving once again that the nations of the world are taking climate change seriously and already taking steps to tackle greenhouse gas emissions.

The Multilateral Assessment process is currently taking place at the COP22 climate conference in Morocco. The Assessment process allows countries to compare and query other countries on their climate change efforts and how each country will achieve their quantified economy-wide emissions reduction goals. This comes after a technical review of each nation’s national self-report on emissions levels and climate policies.

Tracking Domestic Climate Action

The international technical review and multilateral assessment of each nation’s climate policies helps ensure accountability, transparency and mutual ambition to tackle this vital global issue.

For instance, the European Union presented on their 2030 package of commitments. The EU already plans to over-achieve its 2020 climate commitment for emissions reduction by 4 percent. The EU economy has grown even as greenhouse gas emissions have decreased. The EU has also made huge strides on energy efficiency and is in the process of finalizing a climate and energy package for 2030. Read more about the EU’s progress towards its climate commitments in the NRDC analysis here.

Civil society plays an important role by tracking the progress on climate commitments around the world and pushing for stronger action. Transparency on national climate efforts and technical reviews must happen, and civil society must be able to access this information. More importantly, civil society must hold countries accountable for their climate policies where they fall short, and applaud nations that develop ambitious climate policies. To that end, NRDC has compiled a series of Issue Briefs regarding the significance of the Paris Agreement, and the climate commitments of several nations:

Catalyzing International Climate Action

In addition to domestic climate action, wealthier nations are also aligning their future international development lending to align with the climate commitments of developing nations and the global Sustainable Development goals. This is a direct recognition that developed and developing countries can mutually benefit from low-carbon development that avoids new emissions. To facilitate climate action, the new NDC Partnership launching at COP22 will maintain and update a database of 500-1000 funds and initiatives. The database helps identify financing and technical assistance opportunities from bilateral or multilateral sources to support climate action around the world in places that require greater resources to tackle climate change.

Dangerous climate change is the central environmental challenge of our time. That is why 190 nations have already submitted their climate commitments. With the Paris Agreement now fully entered into force, it is time to accelerate concrete actions on the ground. Any nation that wants to turn its back on climate action puts vulnerable communities and future generations at risk. 

About the Authors

Han Chen

Manager, Energy Policy, International Program

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