• George Anjaparidze

Gap persists between collective climate ambition and individual actions

Policy Pulse – 21 October 2021 – George Anjaparidze

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash


Key messages:

  • Updated nationally determined contributions are insufficient to achieve an emission trajectory consistent with Paris Agreement temperature goals.

  • We estimate the emission trajectory from updated NDCs is most consistent with about a 3°C warming.

  • Making good on climate finance commitments of developed countries can help crowd-in much needed capital for scaling-up climate action in developing countries.


Updated climate action plans, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), fall significantly short of what is needed to achieve the collective temperature goals of the Paris Agreement. The gap between collective ambition and individual national actions persists according to the latest synthesis report by the UNFCCC Secretariat, which reflects the information from 191 countries, including updated NDCs covering 113 countries.


The gap between updated NDCs and the needed emission levels under the least-cost 2°C scenario is estimated at 14.1 Gt CO2e in 2030. The gap has been estimated by comparing the updated NDC emission trajectory with the previously assessed emission trajectory in the May 2016 synthesis report of the UNFCCC Secretariat. However, the gap is likely to be even larger if we consider more recent global emission pathway modeling. The latest IPCC Special Report on 1.5°C estimates that to limit global warming to below 2°C, CO2 emissions need to decrease by about 25 per cent from the 2010 level by 2030, which implies that updated NDCs have a gap of about 20.1 Gt CO2e in 2030. To be on a global emission pathway consistent with the 1.5°C goal, global CO2 emissions need to decrease by about 45 per cent from the 2010 level by 2030, which implies that updated NDCs have a gap of about 30 Gt CO2 in 2030.


We estimate the emission trajectory from updated NDCs is most consistent with about a 3°C warming. The increase in planned climate actions up to 2030 reflected in the updated NDCs has been marginal and has not resulted in a revision in the expected level of warming compared to our previous assessment. (See Veritas Global analysis from 17 April 2019, Paris Agreement: the inconvenient gap between ambition and reality).


In the longer-term, there is scope for cautious optimism. Several major economies have put forward more ambitious climate plans that go beyond 2030, including pledges for reaching net zero emissions by mid-century. A key enabler for achieving these goals, particularly in developing countries, will continue to be the scale-up of support for implementation of climate actions. Making good on climate finance commitments of developed countries can help crowd-in much needed capital for scaling-up climate action in developing countries.



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Briefing prepared by:







George Anjaparidze


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