Intended nationally determined contributions: what are the implications for greenhouse gas emissions in 2030?

The analysis presented here considers whether the INDCs that were submitted by 23 October 2015 are consistent with a reasonable chance of not exceeding the 2°C warming limit. As of 23 October 2015, 154 countries (including the 28 Member States of the European Union) had submitted INDCs, including pledges to limit or reduce annual national emissions after 2020. These 154 countries were together responsible for over 85% of global annual emissions of greenhouse gases, and represented over 90% of global gross domestic product (GDP), in 2012.

Based on our analysis we conclude that there has been progress compared with hypothetical ‘business as usual’ global emissions pathways. However there is a gap between the emissions pathway that would result from current ambitions and plans, including those goals outlined by the submitted INDCs, and a pathway that is consistent with a reasonable chance of limiting the rise in global average temperature to no more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels. The most optimistic estimate of global emissions in 2030 resulting from the INDCs is about halfway between hypothetical ‘business as usual’ and a pathway that is consistent with the 2°C limit. Consequently, countries should be considering opportunities to narrow the gap before and after the COP21 summit in Paris.