Countries with submitted or proposed NDC updates
Last update: 2 July 2020
When the gavel came down on the Paris Agreement in 2015, governments formally acknowledged that their national climate targets collectively would not meet the goal of limiting warming to 1.5˚C. So they undertook to do the first update of their 2030 targets which are part of a country’s “nationally determined contribution” (NDC) by 2020, backed by the IPCC Special Report on 1.5˚C, which was completed in October 2018.
The Climate Action Tracker is tracking these updated targets and, for the 36 countries we analyse, will provide a detailed analysis on how much of an improvement each updated target is, and how much it is aligned to the goals of the Paris Agreement. Countries that are not part of the 36 CAT countries and that put forward or propose updated targets for 2030 will be listed but not analysed.
The most important mitigation element of an updated target, in our view, is the emission levels in the target year, because this is “what the atmosphere sees”. To be viewed as making progress, an updated NDC must result in lower emission levels than the previous one. Under the Paris Agreement governments have universally agreed that successive NDCs should reflect a country’s highest possible ambition and represent a progression beyond the current NDC and contribute toward meeting the Paris Agreement’s 1.5˚C warming limit.
In Paris, governments also agreed to submit long-term strategies by 2020 and more than a dozen countries have done so. A growing number of governments have also adopted mid-century net-zero targets. While these developments are encouraging it is critical that 2030 targets are aligned with pathways that can meet mid-century net-zero targets. The IPCC SR1.5 has shown that if the required emission reductions for 2030 or not met then the ability to limit warming to 1.5˚C is compromised. In a number of cases mid-century net-zero targets are not matched by 2030 targets consistent with their achievement.
The Climate Action Tracker will also monitor governments who have signalled an intent not to update their NDCs in 2020. Not updating NDCs by 2020 with an increase in ambition is a clear violation of the decisions to give effect to the Paris Agreement made at the time of its adoption in 2015 (Decisions 1/CP.25 paragraphs 23 and 24) and of the relevant provisions of the agreement (Article 4.3) which requires Parties successive NDC submissions to be more ambitious. Simply resubmitting or recommunicating an NDC without improving ambition significantly also qualifies in this category.
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New Zealand submitted NDC update
Submitted: 22 April 2020
New Zealand submitted its updated NDC to the UNFCCC on the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day; however, there is no cause for celebration. The submission did not contain any stronger 2030 economy-wide target, only a hint that such an update could come in 2021 and reference to the country’s 2050 net zero target adopted last year. While the net zero target is a step forward, New Zealand is not on track to meet its current 2030 target, which the CAT rates as ‘Insufficient’. New Zealand needs to strengthen its 2030 target and adopt the policies and measures needed to put its emissions reductions on track to meet that target.
The legislation adopted last year enshrining the country’s 2050 net zero emission reduction target into law and establishing an independent Climate Change Commission (CCC) to provide advice on that target to the government was an important step forward.
The Minister for Climate Change has requested the Commission to provide advice on whether and how the NDC should be changed to make it consistent with 1.5°C and this advice is expected in early 2021.
This timeline should be moved forward and a stronger target consistent with the Paris Agreement temperature limit should be submitted in 2020. Meanwhile, it is important to heed the advice given by the CCC, in April, to apply a climate change lens as the government develops its economic recovery package to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Forthcoming CAT analysis shows economic stimulus packages focused on low carbon energy system development and infrastructure can significantly reduce emissions in 2030 and put the world on track to 1.5°C.
Failure to submit a stronger 2030 target contravenes the Paris Agreement’s requirement that each NDC should represent a progression on the previous submission. New Zealand still has time to resubmit a stronger NDC in 2020 to honour this historic year for the environmental movement, and to put the country on a trajectory to limit global warming to 1.5°C.
Chile submitted NDC update
Release date: 9 April 2020
On 9 April 2020, the Chilean Government officially released its updated NDC, which is more ambitious than its first NDC submitted to the UNFCCC in 2017 and also slightly more ambitious than an earlier draft NDC of 2019. However, its projected emissions still fall in the ‘Insufficient’ CAT range. Chile needs to go even further if it aims to become compatible with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5° limit.
The updated NDC is stronger in various ways:
- The new NDC has a target of 95 MtCO2e in 2030, which is 2 MtCO2e lower than the earlier draft NDC and significantly lower than the emissions that would have resulted from the previous intensity target (131 MtCO2e)
- The new NDC includes a new goal to peak GHG emissions by 2025, two years earlier than the previous draft
- The new NDC includes a new GHG emissions budget until 2030, which is smaller than the original draft.
The updated NDC also contains a conditional target for 2030. This target was included in the draft released in October 2019, but the final submission contains no further details. If this target was unconditional, the CAT would rate it as 2°C or 1.5°C compatible, depending on the assumptions made about forestry emissions projections.
Chile’s Minister of the Environment, Carolina Schmidt, stated that ‘once the country overcomes the corona crisis, they will enter a rehabilitation phase which must be sustainable’, highlighting that the Chilean government recognises the importance of green economy recovery packages.
Japan submitted NDC update
Release date: 30 March 2020
On March 30, in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, Japan announced its unchanged, ‘highly insufficient’ NDC, of 26% below 2013 levels by 2030. The updated NDC was accompanied by a message from Minister of the Environment, Shinjiro Koizumi.
Japan’s updated NDC emphasises that Japan has reduced its emissions in recent years. The government’s preliminary figures show reductions of 12% from fiscal year (FY) 2013 levels in FY 2018, and it claimed that Japan ‘contributed to reducing global GHG emissions’. The Japanese government does not seem to understand that a fair contribution from Japan to the Paris climate goals requires significantly higher emission reduction rates.
Japan’s failure to increase its 2030 mitigation ambition breaks the Paris Agreement’s requirement that each successive NDC should present a progression. This sends a very bad signal that one of the world’s major economies plans to not step up to meet the requirement that countries submit more ambitious NDCs in 2020.
The message from the Environment Minister is also disappointing, saying the updated NDC is ‘an announcement of Japan’s determination to start the process to further enhancing emission reduction efforts that goes beyond its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) submitted in 2015’ – which is almost meaningless.
Unfortunately, Japan’s updated NDC and the Minister’s message did not reflect Koizumi’s ambition to curb coal-fired power deployment domestically and overseas. Japan still has time to scale up its climate ambition and resubmit a strengthened NDC before the end of 2020, in line with the Paris Agreement.
Russia proposed updated 2030 target
Release date: 23 March 2020
Russia's new draft 2050 strategy does not represent any increase in real-world climate action, and will have no impact on reducing emissions - indeed it appears that its scenarios are less ambitious than those released in December 2019. This major emitter is still a long way from doing anything like its fair share toward meeting the Paris Agreement’s 1.5˚C limit.
On March 23, Russia released the draft of its 2050 strategy which included a 2030 target of 33% below 1990 levels incl. LULUCF (27% excl. LULUCF).
Under its current NDC, Russia will cut emissions by 25-30% below 1990 levels by 2030 incl. LULUCF (17-22% excl. LULUCF). If this proposed 2030 target was submitted as its NDC update, Russia’s CAT rating would change from ‘Critically Insufficient’ to ‘Highly Insufficient’.
While the revised target is a slight numerical improvement on paper, it does not represent any increase in real-world ambition as Russia’s current emissions trajectory still puts its emissions in 2030 below this revised target. In other words, this ‘stronger’ target will have no impact on reducing emissions. The Draft 2050 Strategy, with its proposed limit of 2332 – 2239 MtCO2e in 2030 (excl. LULUCF) (27-30% below 1990 levels excl. LULUCF), does not appear to have scenarios as ambitious as those released by the Russian government three months ago, in December 2019.
The climate needs real-world action. Much greater emission cuts are needed before it can be said that Russia is doing its fair share to meeting the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C limit.
Singapore proposed NDC update
Release date: 28 February
In February, Singapore’s Coordinating Minister for National Security and Chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Climate Change outlined the government’s proposed NDC update. The update shows no improvement on limiting Singapore’s GHG emissions. The proposed NDC update reframes the commitment from an emissions intensity target to an absolute target, which is a good structural change, but does not result in reduced emissions.
The current NDC target is a 36% reduction of 2005 GHG emissions intensity levels by 2030, with the aim of peaking around 2030. The proposed update aims to peak emissions at 65 MtCO2e in 2030 (68 MtCO2e using AR4 values). Moving from an intensity target to an absolute target shows some progress, but it does not replace the need for Singapore to scale up climate action and reduce GHG emissions. Singapore remains in the ‘Highly Insufficient’ CAT rating category.
Norway submitted NDC update
Submitted: 7 February 2020
Norway’s updated Nationally Determined Contribution, submitted in time for the Paris Agreement deadline, represents progress beyond its previous submission, but is still not compatible with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C limit.
Under its updated NDC, Norway will cut emissions by at least 50% by 2030, aiming towards 55% below 1990 levels (47-52% excluding LULUCF net removals), an improvement compared to its previous target of an ‘at least 40%’ cut (37% excluding LULUCF net removals).
While Norway’s updated NDC will result in deeper emission reduction cuts, the scale of change is not enough to improve its “insufficient” CAT rating: both original and updated NDCs fall within this range.
Norway is to be commended for submitting its NDC by the deadline of nine months ahead of COP. However, it still has a way to go before it reaches its highest possible ambition and Paris Agreement compatibility.
Release date: 16 October 2019
Chile has released its new draft NDC for consultation. It refers to economy-wide emissions excluding the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) sector. It provides targets in terms of absolute emissions, includes a carbon budget between 2020 and 2030 and a peak in emissions by 2027.
This proposed absolute unconditional NDC target for 2030 is more ambitious than the earlier intensity target Chile submitted in 2015, and could bring its pledge towards a fair share. By moving to an absolute emissions target instead of one based on emissions intensity of GDP, and specific differential targets for the LULUCF sector, Chile has added transparency to its commitment.
Chile has also updated its conditional target for 2030. Depending on the assumptions made and if it were unconditional, this target could be rated either “2°C compatible” or “1.5°C Paris Agreement compatible.”
Crisis, what climate crisis?
The governments below have clearly signalled an intent to not update their NDC 2030 target or have signalled that they will only recommunicate their existing NDC by 2020 with no significant change in emissions ambition. The Climate Action Tracker will be pleased to remove countries from this list as soon as they have clarified their position and commit to submitting improved NDCs in 2020.
Australian Government confirms there will be no target update for COP26
12 May 2020
The Australian Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor, has confirmed in the Parliament that the government will simply recommunicate its current NDC for COP26, and will not enhance its present 2030 target. He noted that a subsequent NDC is planned for 2025 including a target for 2035 or 2040.
The Australian government intends to meet its 2030 target through carryover of Kyoto Protocol units, rather than through climate policy that reduces greenhouse emissions. It intends to use the Kyoto emission allowance surplus arising from it unambitious 2020 Kyoto target to compensate for absence of policies to reduce emissions by 2030. There is a strong argument that this is not legally consistent with the Paris Agreement.
The CAT rates Australia’s NDC as ‘Insufficient’.
Although Minister Taylor suggests that recommunication is “in accordance with the Paris Agreement”, it is clear that maintaining the same level of emissions reductions in a resubmitted NDC contravenes the intent of the Paris Agreement and its enabling decisions, as each successive NDC should present a progression beyond the current one.
Taking all the relevant provisions of the Paris Agreement, and its enabling decisions, there is a legal obligation on countries to increase their level of ambition. The scientific context, since the Paris Agreement was adopted in 2015, has also been reinforced and should materially affect the obligations of parties, including Australia, in relation to their level of ambition in their NDCs. The IPCC Special Report on 1.5° shows that CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions need to be reduced by 45% by 2030 compared to 2010 levels, and for CO2 emissions to reach net-zero by around 2050 with total greenhouse gas emissions reaching that level about 20 years after that, to limit warming to levels consistent with the long-term temperature goal of the Paris agreement. Avoiding this and choosing only to "re-communicate" its NDC means that Australia is sidestepping this obligation. The term “re-communicate” does not appear anywhere in the agreement, and instead Australia appears to be relying on an interpretation of Paragraph 24 of the Paris Agreement enabling decisions (Decision 1/CP.21), to give it a leave pass not to submit an updated NDC with higher ambition than previously submitted.
A further issue that arises from Minister Taylor’s statement is a reference to a target being set for either 2035 or 2040 and communicated in 2025. The ratchet up mechanism of the Paris agreement is built around the concept of there being common five-year timeframes for NDC targets – hence the five yearly global stock-take system, and the request that the IPCC align its assessment timetable to the needs of this five-year global stock-take. There is concern that the Australian Government may be signalling a move away from this agreement.
New Zealand commits to no new climate action in Earth Day NDC update
22 April 2020
New Zealand’s NDC update did not strengthen its 2030 target, which the CAT rates as ‘Insufficient’. New Zealand has sought to position itself as a climate leader; however, this update and the indication that New Zealand may only strengthen its target in 2021 does not align with the Paris Agreement’s ratchet up mechanism of a common, five-year update cycle, nor the requirement that each NDC should represent a progression on the previous one. To truly be a climate leader, New Zealand should resubmit a stronger 2030 target by the end of this year.
Indonesia government wants to focus on existing targets - media reports
20 April 2020
Indonesian media report that the government is likely to maintain the current level of emission cuts in its NDC update. A government official stated that Indonesia wants to focus on existing targets which are linked to their economic growth. The document still awaits approval by the line ministries as it is Indonesia’s priority to deal with the crisis resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak.
The CAT rates Indonesia’s NDC as ‘Highly Insufficient’, since most of the NDC emission reductions come from efforts in the forestry sector, and, as a result, emissions from the remaining sectors are expected to increase significantly by 2030. Recent analysis by the CAT shows that by acting in just three key areas, Indonesia could achieve a 20% reduction in emissions below 2010 by 2030, in stark contrast to the projected 58-68% increase in emissions under its NDC.
Maintaining the same level of emission reductions in its NDC update would violate the Paris Agreement that each successive NDC should present a progression beyond the current one.
Japan’s updated NDC fails to increase action, undermines Paris Agreement
30 March 2020
Japan has announced its unchanged and ‘highly insufficient’ NDC, of 26% below 2013 levels by 2030. The failure to increase its emissions mitigation ambition for 2030 breaks the Paris Agreement’s requirement that each successive NDC should present a progression beyond the current one in terms of ambition. As a major G7 economy Japan should be leading in supporting the Paris Agreement, not effectively undermining it by deferring its NDC update beyond 2020. The ratchet up mechanism of the Paris agreement is built around a common, five-year update cycle, and for a major economy to step away from that at the first opportunity is an extremely bad signal. Japan still has time to scale up its climate ambition and resubmit a strengthened NDC before the end of 2020, in line with the Paris Agreement.
Russia’s draft climate plan will not deliver real-world climate action
23 March 2020
Russia’s proposed 2030 target would strengthen its target on paper only and not alter the real-world trajectory of its emissions to 2030. Its CAT rate would change from ‘Critically Insufficient’ to ‘Highly Insufficient’. Maintaining the same level of real-world emissions in 2030 breaks the Paris Agreement’s requirement that each successive NDC should present a progression beyond the current one. Russia should scale up its climate action before submitting its final NDC update.
Singapore’s proposed NDC update does not further limit GHG emissions beyond its earlier NDC
28 February 2020
Singapore’s proposed NDC update would improve the nature of its target (moving from emissions intensity to an absolute cap), but does not limit emissions growth beyond what it has already committed to under its first NDC. Singapore is essentially resubmitting the same NDC, just in a different form.
The CAT rates Singapore’s proposed NDC update as ‘Highly Insufficient’. Maintaining the same level of an emissions cap is a violation of the Paris Agreement that each successive NDC should present a progression beyond the current one. Singapore should scale up its climate action before submitting its final NDC update.
Japan’s reluctance to update its NDC - media reports
21 November 2019
Japanese media report that multiple government sources have intended Japan is leaning towards resubmitting its NDC with the current level of climate action: a 26% reduction in emissions below 2013 levels in 2030.
The CAT rates Japan’s NDC as ‘Highly Insufficient’. Maintaining the same level of emission reductions would violate the Paris Agreement that each successive NDC should present a progression beyond the current one.
The U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement
4 November 2019
On 4 November 2019, the State Department began the process of withdrawing from the Agreement. The request to withdraw from the Paris Agreement is a significant addition to the series of rollbacks in climate policy that could increase GHG emissions.
This followed President Trump’s June 2017 announcement that the United States would pull out of the Paris Agreement. This was the first major step in his campaign to systematically walk back US federal climate policy, weakening efforts from the previous administration to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
The CAT rates the U.S. as ‘Critically Insufficient’ on account of its intended withdrawal from the Agreement. The U.S. will remain in this section until such time as it rescinds its withdrawal and put forwards a strengthened NDC.
Australian Prime Minister Morrison unwilling to commit to a new target
11 September 2019
The Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison failed to respond to a direct question as to whether Australia would increase 2030 target to avoid exceeding 1.5°C, only noting that the country would exceed its 2020 Kyoto target and meet others. Its Environment Minister has stated in December 2018 that the country will not update its 2030 target. In response to media inquiries as to whether the government would offer new commitments, a spokesperson for the Prime Minister stated the country had “already outlined our policies” for 2030.
Australia will only meet its 2020 target due to the carryover of emission reduction units, rather than serious climate policy. The CAT rates Australia’s NDC as ‘Insufficient’. Maintaining the same level of emission reductions in a resubmitted NDC would violate the Paris Agreement that each successive NDC should present a progression beyond the current one.