What Determines Ambition in National Climate Action?

Article on factors increasing ambitions for national targets in the Paris Agreement published in "npj Climate Action"

  • News 21.08.2023

The Paris Agreement is based on Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) for climate protection, with which the individual countries aim to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. However, since the NDCs established in 2015 – and the current revisions – are clearly too weak to actually achieve the Paris targets, ambitious further development is needed. An article published in the journal "npj Climate Action" now shows which factors influence the revision of NDCs at the national level.

The scientists combined a number of methods for the evaluation: They analysed updated or revised NDCs from 111 countries using quantitative methods and conducted qualitative case studies of NDCs in Brazil and South Africa. The results show: Countries that consulted with civil society, business, and labor groups before drafting their updated or revised NDCs are more likely to increase their GHG reduction targets.

Dr. Lukas Hermwille, Senior Researcher in the Global Climate Governance Research Unit at the Wuppertal Institute and co-author of the study: "This underlines the importance of comprehensive and transparent stakeholder engagement processes and highlights their potential for improved NDCs. When different groups, from civil society, business and labor groups, are involved, countries can take more ambitious and effective climate action – and ultimately contribute more to global efforts to combat climate change."

The case studies show how this mechanism can work in practice: South Africa conducted extensive consultations and subsequently submitted improved NDCs. In Brazil, on the other hand, under the government of President Jair Bolsonaro, the previously introduced scientific and civil society monitoring processes were deliberately undermined in order to break down political resistance and soften the climate protection targets.

The article is available for download free of charge via the link below.

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