According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), developing countries’ emissions must show a “substantial deviation from baseline in Latin America, Middle East, East Asia and Centrally-Planned Asia” in 2020, to contribute to stabilising the concentration of CO2 equivalent in the atmosphere at 450 ppm.
The actual status of developing countries varies from no pledge to ambitious carbon-neutrality targets. The most ambitious goal is pursued by the Maldives, who aim to become climate neutral independently of external support. Bhutan already is carbon neutral and has pledged to remain at this level. Costa Rica has pledged carbon neutrality, but this is conditional to external support. Examples for countries with low ambition include Argentina who provided no quantifiable pledge and Moldova, whose pledged emission level is equal to or higher than baseline emissions.
Most developing countries pledge a percentage emission reduction below business-as-usual. However, these baseline levels are uncertain in many cases, and/or subject to changes over the years. Therefore, the pledges do not necessarily result in a fixed emission target in 2020. Other countries have pledged intensity targets (e.g. China and India), with the intention to reduce emissions per unit of GDP. These intensity targets refer to a base year in the past, but depend on future development rates, more precisely on future economic growth.
The data illustrated for the individual developing countries is primarily based on national sources, such as national communications and other official governmental documents. Where available the baselines that are provided by the country as the basis for the pledge are used (e.g. Brazil, South Africa).
Methodologies for emission inventories of non-Annex I countries’ are not standardized, which results in major differences in assumptions underlying the data available and the scope of these sources. Because of the inconsistency of the data sources, we do not aggregate the data in a meaningful way to show overall pledged emission levels of all developing countries.