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PBL Climate Pledge NDC tool

The Paris Agreement aims to limit global mean temperature increase to well below 2 °C and pursue efforts to limit it to below 1.5 °C. To achieve this, 189 Parties have submitted Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, so-called INDCs, outlining their post-2020 climate action. On 4 November 2016, the Paris Agreement entered into force, after having been ratified by over 150 Parties; thus, turning their INDCs into NDCs. The PBL Climate Pledge NDC tool shows the targets in these NDCs/INDCs and the pledges made earlier for 2020. For 25 Parties, the tool compares these targets with greenhouse gas emission projections with and without current domestic climate policies up to 2030. The main findings are:

  • Almost all of the 25 Parties analysed have climate policies in place that reduce emissions, but, for about 16 of these Parties, reductions fall short of those targeted in their NDCs. For some Parties, it is uncertain whether their NDCs will lead to a reduction in emissions relative to the business-as-usual scenario.
  • The emission reductions resulting from the NDCs will be insufficient to put the world on a cost-effective pathway to secure a likely chance of keeping global temperature increase below 2 °C. Implementation of the unconditional and conditional NDCs would still leave an emission gap of 13 and 11 GtCO2e, respectively, to securing this likely chance.

Results: NDC emission targets and the impact of policies


Share of global emissions in 2010: 100%

Source: PBL, 2017

The figure shows the impact of projected aggregated emission reductions resulting from the full implementation of most unconditional and conditional NDCs submitted to date, compared to the business-as-usual and current policy scenarios, and the least-cost 2 °C and 1.5 °C scenarios. Full implementation of the unconditional NDCs would reduce emissions, globally, by 6 GtCO2e by 2030, compared to PBL’s business-as-usual scenario, still leaving an emission gap of 14 GtCO2e between the projected global emission level and the one needed for a likely chance of keeping temperature increase below 2 °C. Implementation of the conditional NDCs would reduce this gap to 12 GtCO2e. For limiting temperature increase to 1.5 °C, this gap is about 6 GtCO2e larger. The required emission level by 2030 is determined by assuming a cost-optimal global reduction pathway from 2020 onwards.

NDCs: country classification according to type of target

In advance of the Paris meeting, almost all countries submitted their national post-2020 climate action plans and commitments, as part of their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). These commitments are the foundation of the Paris Agreement. By 15 June 2017, 189 of the 197 Parties had submitted their INDCs, representing about 98% of global 2012 emissions (submissions can be found on the UNFCC website ). Over 150 Parties have ratified the agreement; thus, turning their INDCs into NDCs. When developing the tool, we assessed the mitigation components of the NDCs/INDCs of 114 of these Parties (representing approximately 94% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2010).

The mitigation components of the INDCs and NDCs represent several types of targets, as summarised below (UNEP, 2015):

  • Base year target: economy-wide absolute reduction from historical base year emissions. NDCs/INDCs report on an absolute reduction from historical base year emissions. The base year chosen varies, with 1990, 2005 and 2010 being the most common.
  • Baseline or BAU target: emission reductions relative to a baseline or business-as-usual projection (specified in the NDCs/INDCs). The type of emission reduction relative to a baseline or business-as-usual projection has been chosen for many NDCs/INDCs, mainly for countries located in South America and Central America, Africa and South Asia. The mitigation component of the NDCs/INDCs specifies the business-as-usual emission projection.
  • Baseline or BAU target (not specified): emission reductions relative to a baseline projection (not specified). Same as under point 2, but here, for the NDCs/INDCs, baseline or business-as-usual emission projections are not specified, such as for those of the Philippines and Venezuela. For the calculations, we used the baseline projections from national studies (when available) and the PBL business-as-usual projections.
  • Intensity target. At least five countries, including Malaysia, in their NDCs/INDCs, indicate reductions in emission intensity in GDP as the main type of mitigation.
  • Intensity and non-GHG target: emission intensity target and non-greenhouse gas target. China and India aim for emission intensity improvements, a target for non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption/power capacity, and for China, a target year for the peaking of emissions.
  • Trajectory and fixed-level target. South Africa has a trajectory target stating the emission ranges for 2025 and 2030. Several countries, such as Israel and Ethiopia, put forward a fixed-level target, specifying the MtCO2e that they intend not to exceed in a given year.
  • Submitted actions (cannot be quantified). Finally, many countries include mere qualitative descriptions of mitigation actions in their NDCs/INDCs, or specific targets for sub-sectors, such as for the implementation of renewable energy. As such targets complicate a precise quantification, we have not analysed them here. This group of countries covers about 6% of the global emissions of 2010.

Pre-2020 Pledge map: Country classification according to type of commitment

Under the 2010 Cancún Agreements (United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Cancún in 2010), 42 developed countries submitted economy-wide emission reduction proposals for 2020. Furthermore, at the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UNFCCC in Doha, in 2012, a group of developed countries made reduction commitments for the 2013–2020 period, under the Kyoto Protocol. Finally, 55 developing countries submitted so-called nationally appropriate mitigation measures to this climate convention. Of these countries, 16 have framed their measures in terms of quantified economy-wide reduction targets. The countries with either reduction proposals, reduction commitments, or economy-wide nationally appropriate mitigation measures, together, accounted for 75% of global emissions in 2010.

The pledges and measures of countries under the Cancún Agreements and the Kyoto Protocol, as shown on the map, have been grouped into four categories:

  • Quantified commitments under the Kyoto Protocol. A group of developed countries have made reduction commitments for the period between 2013 and 2020, under the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.
  • Pledges formulated in terms of economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions under the Cancún Agreements. Another group of developed countries have proposed greenhouse gas emission reductions by 2020, defined in terms of reductions against a certain base year level.
  • Submitted measures under the Cancún Agreements. Many developing countries have submitted certain measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as the implementation of renewable energy targets.
  • No pledge or measures. All countries that have not submitted commitments, pledges, or measures to the Climate Convention.

Progress of countries towards achieving their NDCs/INDCs

The report by Kuramochi et al. (2016) provides an overview of projected greenhouse gas emissions, for 25 major emitting countries/regions (map below) up to 2030, taking into account the emission trajectories based on current policies and the implementation of NDCs/INDCs. Current policy trajectories reflect all adopted and implemented policies, defined here as legislative decisions, executive orders, or their equivalent. This excludes publicly announced plans or strategies, while individual policies to implement such plans or strategies would qualify. The main findings of this study are:

Progress made by countries towards achieving their self-chosen 2025 and/or 2030 targets, under current policies.

Less than one third of the analysed countries are on track to achieve the INDC/NDCs targets they have set themselves

  • Of the 25 countries and regions studied here, eight are more or less on track to achieve their self-determined unconditional 2025/2030 targets, with currently implemented policies. These include Brazil, Chile, China, India, Japan, the Russian Federation, Turkey and the Ukraine.
  • It would require additional measures for the other countries (including Argentina, Australia, Canada, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, the EU, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Morocco, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Thailand, the Philippines and the United States) to achieve their 2025/2030 targets.
  • It should be noted that when a country is ‘likely’ to meet its targets, this does not necessarily mean that it is taking more stringent action on mitigation than one that is not on track, because it depends on the ambition level of the INDC/NDC target and on differences between national policies.

Progress towards cutting down greenhouse gas emissions also varies

  • For most countries, currently implemented policies do not stop emissions from increasing until 2030 (above 2010 levels), mainly due to these countries’ projected high economic growth. Only emissions in Canada, Colombia, Japan, the United States and the EU are projected to decrease further.

About the tool

The PBL Climate Pledge NDC tool addresses the following three key questions:

  1. What are the countries’ emissions projections for the NDCs/INDCs for 2030?
  2. Will the projected aggregated impact of the fully implemented NDCs/INDCs on global emissions, for 2030, be sufficient to achieve the target of staying well below 2 °C / 1.5 °C?
  3. Are countries on track to meet their 2020 pledges and NDCs/INDCs for the period up to 2030?

To address these questions, the tool shows the projected impact of the emission reduction proposals (2020 pledges or NDCs/INDCs) and current policies, per country and globally, on greenhouse gas emission, up to 2030. This tool analyses the mitigation components of the NDCs/INDCs of 114 of the 189 Parties (together representing about 94% of emissions in 2010). More specifically, the tool shows the effect of:

  • Pledges: national and global greenhouse gas emission projections for 2020, assuming that pledges will be fully achieved;
  • (Intended) Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs/INDCs): national and global greenhouse gas emission projections for 2030, assuming that NDCs/INDCs will be fully achieved;
  • Current policies: the impact of national climate and energy policies, such as carbon taxation, feed-in tariffs, and standards on emission levels of 2020 and 2030, for 25 major emitting countries and regions.

The projections show total emissions per country, emissions per capita, and emissions per unit of income. The various indicators provide countries with information on how their contribution compares to those of others (Review).


The impact of the most effective current and planned policies on greenhouse gas emissions up to 2030 has been projected by the NewClimate Institute, IIASA and PBL (Kuramochi et al., 2015; Den Elzen et al., 2016b; Roelfsema et al., 2014). Current and planned policies were selected on the basis of literature research and expert knowledge. Experts involved in the CD-LINKS project ( reviewed the full list of policies, after which a shortlist was compiled of those expected to have the greatest impact on greenhouse gas emissions, for further quantification. The calculations by NewClimate Institute were largely based on its analyses for the Climate Action Tracker project, jointly carried out with Ecofys and Climate Analytics (CAT, 2015; 2016). For the calculation, existing scenarios from national and international studies were used (e.g. IEA's World Energy Outlook 2016), as well as NewClimate Institute’s own calculations of the impact of individual policies in various sub-sectors. PBL based their calculations for the current policies scenarios (all sectors, except land use) on the IMAGE model; IIASA’s projections (the land-use sector only) were based on their global land-use model GLOBIOM and global forest model G4M. Basis of the PBL calculations of the impact of climate policies is the SSP2 baseline (no climate policy), as implemented in the IMAGE model (Van Vuuren et al., 2017).

Quantification of the pledges was performed using the FAIR model (Den Elzen et al., 2013; Hof et al., 2013). As policies are subject to change, the web tool uses the current state of affairs. Quantification of the NDCs/INDCs is described, in detail, in Den Elzen et al. (2016), and the quantification of the land-use targets in the NDCs/INDCs is described, in detail, in Grassi et al. (2017) and Forsell et al. (2016).


The projections were harmonised with historical 1990–2010 emissions from the UNFCCC National Inventory Submissions for Annex I countries, the National Communications (when available), EDGAR database (JRC/PBL, 2014) and FAOSTAT data (land-use emissions) for non-Annex I countries (for details, see Kuramochi et al., 2016). For most countries, emission projections encompass all greenhouse gas emissions, including those from land use, land-use change and forestry.


The emission projections based on the NDCs/INDCs can be found in Den Elzen et al. (2016). If you plan to use these data in official publications, please contact us.


This study is financed by Directorate-General Climate Action (DG-CLIMA), under contract to DG-CLIMA (No. 34.0201/2015/717962/SER/CLIMA.A.4), and the Linking Climate and Development Policies – Leveraging International Networks and Knowledge Sharing (CD-LINKS) project, financed by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 642147 (CD-LINKS). We acknowledge and are grateful for the contributions of, and discussion with, all colleagues of NewClimate Institute and IIASA involved, in particular Andries Hof and Detlef van Vuuren (all PBL), Hanna Fekete, Niklas Höhne and Takeshi Kuramochi (all NewClimate Institute), and Nicklas Forsell (IIASA), with a special thanks to Allard Warrink (PBL) for all his work on the infographics.

Main publications

  • Den Elzen MGJ, Admiraal A, Roelfsema M, Van Soest H, Hof AF and Forsell N. (2016a). Contribution of the G20 economies to the global impact of the Paris agreement climate proposals. Climatic Change 137, 655–665.
  • Kuramochi T, Höhne N, Gonzales-Zuñiga A, Hans F, Sterl S, Hagemann M, Den Elzen MGJ, Roelfsema M, Van Soest H, Forsell N and Turkovska O. (2016). Greenhouse gas mitigation scenarios for major emitting countries: Analysis of current and planned climate policies, and mitigation pledges (update). NewClimate Institute, PBL, IIASA, Cologne (Germany), The Hague (the Netherlands), Laxenburg (Austria),
  • Rogelj J, Den Elzen MGJ, Höhne N, Fransen T, Fekete H, Winkler H, Schaeffer R, Sha F, Riahi K and Meinshausen M. (2016). Paris Agreement climate proposals need a boost to keep warming well below 2 °C. Nature 534, 631–639.


  • CAT (2015; 2016). Climate Action Tracker: Country Assessments. NewClimate Institute/Ecofys/Climate Analytics/PIK.
  • Den Elzen MGJ, Fekete H, Höhne N, Admiraal A, Forsell N, Hof A, Olvier JGJ, Roelfsema M and Van Soest H. (2016b). Greenhouse gas emissions from current and enhanced policies of China until 2030: Can emissions peak before 2030? Energy Policy 89, 224–236.
  • Forsell N, Turkovska O, Gusti M, Obersteiner M, Den Elzen MGJ and Havlik P. (2016). Assessing the INDCs’ land use, land use change, and forest emission projections. Carbon Balance and Management 11, 26.
  • Grassi G, House J, Dentener F, Federici S, Den Elzen MGJ and Penman J. (2017). The key role of forests in meeting climate targets requires science for credible mitigation. Nature Climate Change 7, 220–226.
  • Hof AF, Den Elzen MGJ, Admiraal A, Roelfsema M, Gernaat DEHJ, Van Vuuren DP. (2017). Global and regional abatement costs of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and of enhanced action to levels well below 2 °C and 1.5 °C. Environmental Science and Policy, 71, pp. 30–40
  • Hof AF, Den Elzen MGJ and Roelfsema M. (2013). The effect of updated pledges and business-as-usual projections, and new agreed rules on expected global greenhouse gas emissions in 2020. Environmental Science and Policy 33, pp. 308–319.
  • JRC/PBL (2014) Emission Database for Global Atmospheric Research release version 4.2, EDGARv4.2FT2012, European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC)/PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, Brussels/The Hague.
  • Roelfsema M, Den Elzen MGJ, Höhne N, Hof AF, Braun N, Fekete H, Brandsma R, Larkin J and Böttcher H. (2014). Are major economies on track to achieve their pledges for 2020? An assessment of domestic climate and energy policies, Energy Policy 67, pp. 781–796.
  • UNEP (2015). Emissions Gap Report 2015. United Nations Environment Programme.
  • UNEP (2016). Emissions Gap Report 2016. United Nations Environment Programme.
  • Van Vuuren DP, Stehfest E, Gernaat D, Doelman J, Van den Berg M, Harmsen M, and De Boer HS. (2017). ‘Energy, Land-Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trajectories under a Green Growth Paradigm.’ Global Environmental Change 14, pp. 237–250.