First step towards the COP21: Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). At COP20 Lima in Peru, in December 2014, an agreement was reached which urged all countries to establish their greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets by 31 March 2015. That information, referred to as INDC, must be clear, transparent and easy to understand. With the deadline already passed, only 35 of the 193 countries have published their INDCs.
Why are INDCs important? Because they reflect a country’s level of ambition vis-à-vis the next round of negotiations, which will culminate with a global agreement at the climate change conference in 2015. The contributions, which ultimately aim to limit global temperature rise to at most 2ºC (Process guidance for INDCs), will be one of the key components of the agreement expected to be reached in Paris.
Those contributions (previously called “commitments”) affect strategic productive sectors, which must undergo a transformation to fulfil those commitments. The conversion to a low-carbon economy also requires a change in the energy model, which will production, consumption, financing, and technological innovation and requires that society be aware and involved.
With respect to the published INDCs, below is a summary of the GHG reduction percentages indicated by each country and the time frame:
- Switzerland: At least a 50% reduction in GHG emissions. Baseline year 1990, to 2030.
- European Union and its 28 members: 40% reduction in GHG emissions (1990-2030).
- Norway: At least a 40% reduction in GHG emissions (1990-2030).
- Mexico: 22% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030 (2013-2030).
- United States: 26-28% reduction in GHG emissions (2005-2025).
- Gabon: 50% reduction in GHG emissions (1990-2030).
- Russia: 20-25% reduction in GHG emissions (2000-2030).
- Liechtenstein: 40% reduction in GHG emissions (1990 – 2030).
Despite the scant number of countries that have published their INDCs within the recommended time frame, all countries are expected to establish their quantifiable greenhouse gas emission commitments by October 2015, the deadline established at COP20 Lima with a view to clinching a climate agreement at COP21 Paris.