Introduction

In the framework of the UNFCCC, many countries have put proposals on the table about how much they intend to reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions in both the near and the long term.

The aim of this project is to provide interested readers with an up-to-date assessment of the individual reduction targets and with an overview of their combined effects. The intention is to make these pledges transparent and to encourage those countries that have not yet done so to make (or increase) their pledge.

 A crucial question we answer is whether the combined effect of the individual national pledges are sufficient to ensure that global emissions are on a pathway towards staying below the 2°C limit.

Emissions reduction targets are mandatory for many of the world’s leading economies for the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. Developing countries are not required to reduce emissions under the Kyoto Protocol.

Under the Copenhagen Accord and the Cancun Agreements many developed and developing countries have communicated the pledges for 2020.

Individual countries’ pledges are subject to changes and are not always clearly communicated. They usually consist of an emission reduction goal that can be achieved, either through domestic reductions or through offsets. This reduction target can be expressed in a variety of ways, as an absolute reduction below a base year, as a reduction below a baseline, reductions of emissions intensity or as individual projects or programs (NAMAs).

There may also be a financial commitment to directly support developing countries in reducing their emissions.

Pledges are sometimes also differentiated to "unilateral" actions based on their own initiatives and "conditional" actions that could be implemented if financing were available or if an international agreement were in place.