Countries not taking further action to increase 2030 climate action
This list includes countries where the updated NDC target is nominally stronger, but does not lead to a real additional reduction, as the target results in higher emissions than estimated under current policies. It also includes countries that enhanced the ambition of the target by a marginal amount. Japan has resubmitted its previous NDC unchanged in March 2020, but announced that it will enhance its NDC still in 2021. New Zealand has resubmitted the unchanged target, but has indicated that it is reviewing whether it needs to be changed to make it consistent with the Paris Agreement 1.5°C limit, and this review is expected in 2021. The list also reflect governments that signalled an intent to not update their 2030 NDC target or have signalled that they will only recommunicate their existing NDC by 2020, with no significant change in emissions ambition.
The table below acts as a menu to more detailed information, click the country name to jump to the country analysis.
Countries we analyse
Date: 15 April, 2021
Australia fails to improve target, lagging behind other major economies
Date: 31 December, 2020
The Australian Government have simply recommunicating the same target. The Paris pledges, made in 2015, fall short of what is needed to prevent dangerous climate change, and nations were requested to increase ambition in 2020. Other major economies are setting more ambitious pledges (such as the UK, EU, Chile and Norway) whereas Australia lags behind.
In updated NDC, South Korea's target did not change, remains ‘Highly insufficient’
Date: 30 December, 2020
South Korea submitted its updated NDC in December 2020, but did not strengthen the nation’s 2030 target, which the CAT rates as “Highly insufficient”. It has made improvement in the architecture of its NDC as its target is now set as a 24.4% reduction below 2017 emission levels, whereas the previous NDC set a reduction target compared to a business as usual (BAU) scenario. However, the strength of the target remains unchanged at 540 MtCO2e – including contributions of LULUCF and international credits. If these contributions are excluded, we estimate South Korea’s target to correspond to 578 MtCO2e by 2030 or 19% below 2017 levels (see assumptions section).
South Korea still has the opportunity to raise its NDC ambition before COP26 in Glasgow to levels consistent with meeting its stated net zero goals, and should not wait until 2025, as it suggests in its communication.
Mexico’s updated NDC lowers its climate ambition and transparency, contrary to Paris Agreement rules
Date: 30 December, 2020
Mexico submitted its updated NDC on 30 December 2020: its targets, both conditional and unconditional, remained unchanged, while its emissions projections under business-as-usual (BAU) continue to increase. This reduces the country’s mitigation ambition in absolute levels and moves the rating of this target one category lower to “Highly insufficient.” The failure to increase its mitigation ambition for 2030 does not comply with the Paris Agreement’s requirement that each successive NDC should present a progression beyond the current one.
Viet Nam submitted NDC update
Date: 11 December, 2020
Viet Nam submitted its updated NDC in September 2020. While numerically stronger, it can still be easily met with current policies and will not drive further climate action. We therefore do not consider Viet Nam's target to be stronger than the previous one. The CAT rating remains unchanged as ‘Critically Insufficient’. The transparency and sectoral coverage of the NDC has improved.
Brazil’s new 2030 target is a step down, not a step up
Date: 09 December, 2020
Against a backdrop of rising emissions from deforestation, a record-breaking year for forest fires in the Amazon, and increasing international scrutiny over Brazil’s climate action, Brazil has submitted an updated Paris Agreement NDC that effectively weakens its already insufficient climate action targets for 2025 and 2030.
Switzerland submits new NDC to UNFCCC; still short of 1.5°C ambition level
Date: 09 December, 2020
On 10 December 2020, Switzerland submitted its new NDC target to the UNFCCC. The NDC establishes a new floor for Switzerland’s reduction level, updating its previous target of a 50% below 1990 levels by 2030 to ‘at least’ 50%. The CAT does not consider this change, while positive, to be significant enough to be considered a stronger target. Switzerland’s CAT rating remains at ‘Insufficient’.
Russia’s new NDC will not deliver real-world climate action
Date: 25 November, 2020
Russia’s new NDC is stronger on paper, but does not alter the real-world trajectory of its emissions. Russia’s own emissions estimates show current policy emissions projections in 2030 below its new target. Nonetheless, its CAT rating would change from ‘Critically Insufficient’ to ‘Highly Insufficient’ due to the removal of the previous NDC target’s lower bound (25% below 1990 levels by 2030, including LULUCF). Maintaining the same level of real-world emissions in 2030 breaks the Paris Agreement’s requirement that each successive NDC should represent a progression beyond the current one.
Russia’s new 2030 target will not deliver real-world climate action
Date: 04 November, 2020
Russia’s new 2030 target is stronger on paper, but does not alter the real-world trajectory of its emissions. Russia’s own emissions projections show emissions in 2030 under current policies below its new target. Nonetheless, its CAT rating would change from ‘Critically Insufficient’ to ‘Highly Insufficient’ due to the removal of the previous target’s lower bound (25% below 1990 levels by 2030, including LULUCF). Maintaining the same level of real-world emissions in 2030 breaks the Paris Agreement’s requirement that each successive NDC should represent a progression beyond the current one. Russia should scale up its climate action before submitting its NDC update.
Japan has resubmitted unchanged ‘highly insufficient’ NDC, but is expected to revise this in 2021
Date: 01 September, 2020
In March 2020, Japan resubmitted an unchanged NDC, but a revision is expected in 2021. This will be the test about the nation’s seriousness on its 2050 net zero goal.
In September 2020, the Japanese government began a process to revise the 2030 energy mix and GHG mitigation target (METI, 2020). This follows the statement by the Environment Minister in March 2020 that the country will later communicate a more ambitious NDC upon resubmitting its ‘highly insufficient’ first NDC, of 26% below 2013 levels by 2030. Submitting a revised NDC in 2021 is an opportunity to bring it in line with the Paris Agreement and make the nation’s net zero commitment a credible one.
Australian Government confirms there will be no target update for COP26
Date: 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.
New Zealand commits to no new climate action in Earth Day NDC update
Date: 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
Date: 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.
Singapore’s NDC update does not further limit GHG emissions beyond its first NDC.
Date: 31 March, 2020
Singapore’s NDC update has improved the nature of its target (moving from emissions intensity to an absolute cap), and the methodology (by moving to more recent IPCC guidelines for reporting and improving gas coverage) but does not limit emissions growth beyond what it has already committed to under its first NDC. While this is an improvement in clarity and transparency, it is not an enhanced NDC.
The CAT rates Singapore’s updated NDC as ‘Highly Insufficient’. Maintaining the same level of an emissions cap breaks the Paris Agreement’s requirement that each successive NDC should present a progression beyond the current one. Singapore should scale up its climate action and re-submit its NDC target.
Japan’s updated NDC fails to increase action, undermines Paris Agreement
Date: 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
Date: 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
Date: 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.
The U.S. expected to rejoin the Paris Agreement in early 2021, bringing back the US leadership in climate action
Date: 12 December, 2019
On the day of the Climate Ambition Summit, President-elect Joe Biden confirmed his intention to rejoin the Paris Agreement on the first day of his presidency and to immediately start working on boosting climate action at the city, state and business level. A key question is whether the US will put forward an NDC that is consistent with Biden’s net-zero emissions pledge by 2050 and the Paris Agreement 1.5°C temperature limit. As of December 2020, the CAT rating of the US NDC remains ‘Critically Insufficient’ on account of its withdrawal from the Agreement on 4 November 2020.
Japan’s reluctance to update its NDC - media reports
Date: 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 U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement
Date: 04 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.
Australian Prime Minister Morrison unwilling to commit to a new target
Date: 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.