Options for assessing ambition of mitigation commitments

Beyond Paris

Published: 01/12/2015

Countries had been asked to submit their climate plans (INDCs, intended nationally determined contributions) to the UNFCCC ahead of the climate summit in Paris. The assessment of the aggregate of as well as individual INDCs is important for several reasons. It is relevant to understand whether the INDC process actually produces the results needed to close the emissions gap and which level of ambition will be required by the international community.

The assessment of individual INDCs allows for transparency in the process. It enables a better understanding of whether individual contributions are fair considering the common climate goal and individual country circumstances and whether countries have potential for further emissions reductions.

This paper provides an overview of options to assess mitigation commitments beyond Paris. This includes a review of current activities to assess individual INDCs as well as a discussion of some of the attributes and requirements such assessment needs to fulfil. The paper goes on to explore options of how the assessment could be carried out and linked to the UNFCCC process, followed by a discussion of methodological approaches to assess the ambition of mitigation contributions. In conclusion, it provides some recommendations on a feasible and realistic way forward drawing out potential opportunities and challenges in the process.

This report was written for the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA) as part of a project carried out by Ecofys (coordination), New Climate Institute, Climate Analystics, Öko Institut and Fraunhofer ISI.