WRI’s Interpreting INDCs paper assesses transparency of 8 major climate plans




In advance of COP21, more than 180 countries have submitted post-2020 climate action plans, also known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), for managing emissions and improving climate change resilience. These commitments represent a significant step forward for international climate action and will be integral to the climate negotiations that are currently underway in Paris.

A new WRI publication, Interpreting INDCs, takes a close look at the INDC greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions targets of 8 top emitters — Brazil, China, the European Union, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico and the United States — which collectively account for approximately two thirds of annual global emissions.

The publication evaluates the transparency of the GHG targets, presents estimated emissions trajectories for each of the INDCs through 2030, assuming emissions targets are achieved, and highlights uncertainties in the intention of the INDC targets that are due to transparency gaps. It also suggests ways that these top-emitters can improve the transparency of their GHG targets. We find that:


  • While the INDCs have generally adhered to the general guidelines in the Lima Call for Climate Action, transparency gaps remain and these affect understanding of proposed GHG targets.


  • The degree of transparency provided by INDCs is associated with target type, with absolute targets having provided the most clarity. This may be due to the more complex transparency needs associated with other target types.


  • Details on land-sector accounting and use of market mechanisms, in particular, are generally lacking.

Negotiators at COP21 have the opportunity to enhance the clarity of future GHG targets by adopting robust transparency provisions in the Paris agreement.

Read our new blog to learn more.

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