Making Climate Action More Effective
Lessons Learned from the First Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)
Almost every country has formulated its Nationally Determined Contribution to the global response to climate change. These national climate action plans were key to the landmark adoption of the 2015 Paris Agreement. They will also be central to its implementation – even if, taken together, current plans are insufficient to meet the aims of the Paris Agreement. Every five years, countries update their NDCs to demonstrate increased ambition. But while essential, ambition alone is not enough. This book shows that to be able to realize their climate ambition, countries also need to enhance the effectiveness of their plans and policies. Enhancing effectiveness involves improving the transparency, coherence and implementability of their NDCs.
To ramp up ambition and effectiveness, future NDCs must build on and learn from experience. Based on a detailed analysis of the first round of NDCs by some of the world’s most knowledgeable climate policy experts, this book offers critical insights relevant to mitigation, adaptation and means of implementation. The book also discusses key elements of the Paris Agreement and broader climate policy, including the Enhanced Transparency Framework and the Paris Committee on Capacity Building, as well as considerations of equity and development. It is a must-read for researchers, policymakers, practitioners, and civil-society experts working on climate policy.
The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of the Climate Policy.
Table of Contents
1. Beyond ambition: increasing the transparency, coherence and implementability of Nationally Determined Contributions
W. Pieter Pauw and Richard J.T. Klein
2. Ambition in the making: analysing the preparation and implementation process of the Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement
Frauke Röser, Oscar Widerberg, Niklas Höhne and Thomas Day
3. The 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement: voluntary contributions towards thematic policy coherence
Hannah Janetschek, Clara Brandi, Adis Dzebo and Bernd Hackmann
4. Exploring links between national climate strategies and non-state and subnational climate action in nationally determined contributions (NDCs)
Angel Hsu, John Brandt, Oscar Widerberg, Sander Chan and Amy Weinfurter
5. What are the implications of the Paris Agreement for inequality?
Caroline Zimm and Nebojsa Nakicenovic
6. Conditional nationally determined contributions in the Paris Agreement: foothold for equity or Achilles heel?
W. Pieter Pauw, Paula Castro, Jonathan Pickering and Shikha Bhasin
7. Nationally determined contributions (NDCs) as instruments for promoting national development agendas? An analysis of small island developing states (SIDS)
Aaron Atteridge, Cleo Verkuijl and Adis Dzebo
8. Capacity building for implementation of nationally determined contributions under the Paris Agreement
Mizan Khan, David Mfitumukiza and Saleemul Huq
9. Transparency requirements under the Paris Agreement and their (un)likely impact on strengthening the ambition of nationally determined contributions (NDCs)
Romain Weikmans, Harro van Asselt and J. Timmons Roberts
Pieter Pauw is policy advisor and senior researcher at the Frankfurt School – UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate & Sustainable Energy and adjunct assistant professor at the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development of Utrecht University. He has published extensively on adaptation, climate finance and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
Richard Klein (Stockholm Environment Institute) has conducted research and provided policy advice on climate adaptation since 1992. He has served as lead author in six IPCC reports and co-led the Nordic Centre of Excellence for Strategic Adaptation Research. He founded the journal Climate and Development and was its editor-in-chief for ten years. In 2016, he received the Burtoni Award for excellence in adaptation research.
"Nationally Determined Contributions are key to reaching the goals of the Paris Agreement. Much has been said about the need to make NDCs more ambitious over time. But ambition alone is not enough: NDCs must also be effective. This book, with contributions from some of the most renowned experts in the field, shows that countries can achieve this by enhancing the transparency, strengthening the coherence, and ensuring the implementability of their NDCs. The book is a must-read for everybody working on climate policy and aspiring to contribute to successful climate action around the world."
- Christiana Figueres, Founding Partner of Global Optimism, and former Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
"Nationally Determined Contributions are the cornerstone of the Paris Agreement. The agreement’s effectiveness is built on the assumption that governments are willing to ratchet up NDCs over time and really achieve their contributions. I have worked intensively on NDC development and updates in a number of countries with very diverse characteristics. Often, I was struck by the gap between high-level targets and lack of serious implementation on the ground. I thus commend Pieter Pauw, Richard Klein and their co-authors for putting the spotlight on the need for transparent, coherent and implementable NDCs. Hopefully, policymakers will study the book and close the implementation gap!"
- Dr Axel Michaelowa, Head of the group on International Climate Policy at the University of Zurich and senior founding partner of the consultancy ‘Perspectives’
"Large differences in the policy priorities, development status and greenhouse gas emissions of countries make it a highly complex undertaking to share the global responsibility to address climate change among countries. The Paris Agreement relies on countries’ self-determined ambitions to address climate change in the context of the global objective to prevent dangerous climate change. The chapters in this book can help to improve future NDCs and to ensure that the global governance system created in Paris delivers in practice. The book is highly recommended to everybody working on climate policy and international cooperation.
- Prof. Dr. Dirk Messner, President of the German Environment Agency (UBA)