Climate Commitments Update:

Tracking the short and long-term climate goals of leading greenhouse emissions countries

Climate Scorecard is tracking the ability of leading greenhouse gas emitting countries to commit to and develop plans for achieving short-term (by 2030) and long-term (by 2050) emission reduction targets. The summary graph and detailed country profiles below will be updated on a regular basis. We also will publish a monthly update of our Country Climate Commitments and make it available to those on the Climate Scorecard mailing list, which you can join here.

Countries & Regions Represented in Each Bar
  1. Australia, Brazil, E.U., France, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States.
  2. E.U., United Kingdom
  3. E.U., United Kingdom
  4. Canada, E.U., France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, Spain, United Kingdom, United States
  5. Germany, Spain, United Kingdom

September 2021 Update

Six countries updated their NDC’s in September. In addition to creating more in-depth plans for mitigating emissions, many of these updates included a commitment to carbon neutrality by 2050. Unlike previous updated NDCs, few focused on a specific percentage of emissions reductions, instead emphasizing sector goals and mitigation strategies. As we have seen in the last few months, these stronger commitments are often coming from smaller countries with relatively low emissions. Due to the smaller sizes of these economies, most of these plans are conditional upon international financial support, which will likely be a key issue at the COP26 happening at the end of October. While the United States promised to double foreign aid for climate change mitigation, it remains to be seen if and how this aid will be distributed.

The first of the countries to update their NDC’s in September was Belize. While they did not commit to becoming carbon neutral as a country by 2050, they are using global carbon neutrality as a frame of reference for their emissions reduction’s goals. They did commit to achieving 75% renewable energy by 2030 and outlined increased sector specific reduction goals.

On the other hand, Antigua and Barbuda committed to carbon neutrality by 2040, ten years ahead of many countries’ goals. Similarly, they emphasized the transition to renewable energy, stating a goal of 86% by 2030. In addition to this, they stated that all new vehicle sales must be electric vehicles by 2030.

The Gambia has chosen to release their Second NDC ahead of schedule instead of updating their first. The Gambia’s is similar to the other NDC’s previously described because it expands on its previous commitments and outlines clearly how it plans to achieve its goals. Again, it does not increase the percentage of emissions reductions, but the report does correct the 2010 base year emissions to be more accurate, which makes the projected emissions reduction 49.7% by 2030 instead of the 45.4% that they originally predicted.

South Sudan submitted an extensive Second NDC report which committed to a carbon emission reduction of 109.87 million tonnes by 2030. They also committed to sequestering 45.06 million tonnes of carbon in addition to the previous reduction. Notably, South Sudan’s greenhouse gas emissions have only been increasing about 1% each year.

Zimbabwe was one of the few countries to update its emissions reduction commitment from 30% to 40% per capita by 2030 compared to a business-as-usual scenario with 2017 as the baseline year. Like many of the other updates this month, Zimbabwe’s report highlights its vulnerability to climate change and its low overall global contribution to total GHG emissions. However, it still maintains a strong commitment to mitigating climate change.

Finally, Sri Lanka had submitted their first NDC update at the end of July. However, according to the Ministry of Environment’s statement, the country’s power sector is so focused on achieving carbon neutrality that they are already updating their NDC to “Sri Lanka expects to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050,” instead of 2060 which is what their July NDC laid out.

In the wake of recent news claiming that the Paris Agreement’s goals are still out of reach, this update comes as a pleasant surprise. It is also a reminder of the hard work that many smaller, lower income countries are putting into reducing their emissions, compared to larger countries who are failing to take decisive action.

In other exciting news, Turkey has just announced that it will finally ratify the Paris Agreement. This means that the agreement will be submitted to Turkey’s parliament and officially agreed on, allowing them to develop an emission reduction plan and to create an NDC. Coupled with their recent publication of the EU Green Deal Action Plan, Turkey shows serious intentions of becoming a part of the global climate movement.

Detailed information by country can be found on our scorecard page here.


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