Here we provide a summary of project results for 20 selected countries around the world. Currently, these results include an analysis of the implementation risks of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the Paris Agreement of these 20 countries and a deep dive into four diverse countries to evaluate their enhancement of NDC targets. Details on these analyses can be found in the published project reports. More results will follow soon and will outline the findings of the modelling activities of the project.
NDC implementation risks
We used seven criteria to analyse the implementation risks of NDCs for the 20 selected countries. First, we analysed risks related to track record, by assessing the achievement of prior climate targets, the existence of major climate policy reversals, and countries’ overall climate performance and national climate policy ratings of the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI). Second, we assessed the role of implementation risks associated with the influence of domestic interest groups, such as industry lobbies and civil society groups. Third, we assessed the role of resources dedicated to implementation and compared the receipt of international climate finance for the developing countries among our cases. Fourth, we assessed the risks associated with policy output dedicated for the implementation of NDC targets. Fifth, with regard to embeddedness in legislation, we accounted for the adoption of framework legislation for climate change and the existence of, possibly quantifiable, NDC targets included in the framework legislation. Sixth, the criterion on institutional output focused on the presence of purpose-built institutions for climate change, which have been established in many of our cases. Finally, for monitoring and enforcement, we employed the Transparency Adherence Index by Weikmans and Gupta (2021) and the Regulatory Enforcement from the Rule of Law Index. We also looked at the inclusion of GHG targets in the latest NDCs. The table summarises the results for all countries while the tabs below expand on the results for each criterion. Detailed methodology and results can be found in the project report “Assessing the implementation risks of NDCs: Lessons from 20 cases”.
We defined our cases as “low risk” for track record when they ranked high on all aspects of the track record criterion and “high risk” when they scored very low among all aspects of the criterion. For instance, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and the US are all ranked “high risk”, since they all ranked low for three of the indicators: either did not achieve their Kyoto targets, have a history of major climate policy reversals, and/or ranked relatively low on indicators of climate change performance, which makes their implementation efforts more insecure. We assign Colombia, the EU, India, Indonesia, Morocco, and Norway to the low-risk group due to a lack of historical climate policy repeals and relatively high climate policy scores. All other intermediate cases are coded as “medium risk”.
We analysed this based on measures of V-Dem’s civil society index, the value added by industry to the national economy, and the inclusion of stakeholder engagement in the development process of the NDC. We coded China, Iran, and Saudi Arabia as the countries with the highest risks, since they boast large high-emitting industries, maintain weak civil societies and did not engage with the opinions of stakeholders during the development of their NDCs. Conversely, we defined the EU, South Africa, and the US are defined as “low risk” since they nurture a robust civil society, retain relatively small high-emitting industries, and have engaged with key stakeholders for the development of their NDCs. The rest of the countries, with either large industries and strong civil societies or vice versa, and references to stakeholder consultations in their NDCs, were classified as “medium risk”.
While the members of the OECD among our cases acted as climate finance providers, the developing countries were recipients. We find that while some countries tend to receive more international climate finance per GDP, such as Morocco, Ecuador, and Vietnam, it is difficult to compare this finding for risks pertaining to countries that provide climate finance in the first place. Large medium-income countries, such as Iran, China, and Mexico are among the cases that receive the least climate finance per GDP in our sample. Unfortunately, we have a lack of information on government budgets for climate action as part of our assessment of the risks associated with the implementation of the NDCs. We coded the providers of climate finance and countries that have received a large share of climate finance (% of GDP) as “low risk”. The rest of the cases are designated as “medium risk”.
More specifically, we looked at the national climate policy indicator of the CCPI, whether the main emission sources in each country are sufficiently covered by climate change mitigation policies, at what price countries price carbon, and to what extent they provide subsidies for the producers and users of fossil fuels. Cases that had “medium” to “strong” national policy scores, had all the main emission sources are covered by policies with a policy rating of “good” or “very good”, and had implemented carbon pricing were defined as “low risk”. Cases where the rating for the national climate policy indicator was “very weak”, and the policy coverage of the main emission sources were poor or very poor and had not implemented carbon pricing are coded as “high risk”. All intermediate cases were defined as “medium risk”. We find that Australia, Ecuador, Indonesia, Iran, Nigeria, and Saudi Arabia are among the most uncertain cases of future NDC implementation due to a low national climate policy rating, an insufficient policy coverage of key GHG emissions sources, a lack of carbon pricing instruments, and/or high levels of state subsidies afforded for fossil fuels. At the same time, Brazil, the EU, and Mexico have higher national climate policy scores, covered their main GHG emission sources with climate policies, doing the most to price carbon, and/or provide less fossil fuel subsidies per GDP. Other cases that rank high for some indicators and low for others are coded “medium risk”.
We find that these aspects provide a strong legal safeguard for NDC implementation. A number of our selected cases had adopted framework legislation for climate change, but only a few embraced NDC targets in framework legislation, which were defined as “low risk” countries. The cases of framework legislation with clear NDC targets include Australia’s Climate Change Bill 2022, Colombia’s Climate Action Law from 2021, the EU’s Regulation 2021/1119, Mexico’s 2012 General Law on Climate Change with an unconditional target, and Norway’s Climate Change Act from 2017. We define the countries that have no framework legislation on climate change as “high risk”, countries with framework legislation (or similar) but without quantifiable targets are coded as “medium risk”, while countries with both framework legislation and quantifiable targets are coded as “low risk”.
We find that only a few countries, such as Australia, Russia, and Saudi Arabia have not created purpose-built climate change institutions and were, thus, coded as “high risk”. All other cases that exhibit the re-purposing of existing institutions, layering or the creation of new purpose-built institutions are defined as “low risk”. For instance, in some cases, we observe layering and mainstreaming, such as the US and Ecuador, where the mandates of existing institutions have been extended to cover climate policy issues, in lieu of the introduction of new institutions.
We define countries that rank very low in terms of Transparency Adherence Index and regulatory enforcement as “high risk” and vice versa as “low risk”. In terms of transparency and regulatory enforcement, the highest-ranking cases with the lowest risk of implementation failure due to lack of monitoring and enforcement are high income democracies, such as Australia, the EU, Japan, Norway, and the US. The high-risk group consists of countries that score low in terms of transparency and regulatory enforcement, such as Ecuador, Mexico, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, and Vietnam. In addition, the only countries in our sample that have not adopted GHG targets in their NDCs are Ecuador and Saudi Arabia. The rest of the cases that rank intermediate for all indicators were coded “medium risk”.