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What is needed to track progress of emissions reductions under the Paris Agreement?

13th March 2017

To ensure that the aims of the Paris Agreement can be met, progress towards both individual goals (NDCs) and the global goals (e.g. the long-term temperature goal) needs to be tracked.

The architecture for tracking progress under the Paris Agreement is a good start, but much work remains to be done to operationalise it. Parties are aiming to complete this work by COP24 in December 2018.

Independent evaluations of progress will continue to play an important role in providing Parties and other actors with timely information on whether individual goals are adequate, and whether collective action is on track to achieve the Paris Agreement’s global goals. 

For the Paris “tracking system” to be effective, the CAT has a number of recommendations (full briefing here), including:

  • The rule-set should be as precise as possible
  • It should be acknowledged that not all countries will provide all the necessary information and therefore space should be made for expert analysis–either mandated by the UNFCCC or external to the UNFCCC umbrella.
  • Guidance for the information contained in NDCs would ideally address all types of NDCs in order to facilitate their aggregation; in particular, a minimum mandatory set of requirements for the information that they contain would help ensure their comparability.
  • Guidance for accounting of NDCs would need to ensure environmental integrity of emissions reductions, particularly when it comes to the land-use sector and emissions reductions that are transferred through market-based measures. Accounting rules must also allow mitigation action from the range of different NDC target types to be aggregated in a scientifically robust manner.
  • Parties would ideally agree to place all NDCs on a common timeframe (e.g. over synchronised 5 year periods), so that they are updated at the same time, and apply over the same period. This will make aggregation much easier.