Contribution of the G20 economies to the global impact of the Paris agreement climate proposals


By 15 December 2015, 187 countries had submitted their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) summarising their climate actions after 2020 in the context of the Paris Agreement. We used a unified framework to assess the mitigation components of INDCs covering 105 countries (representing approximately 91 % of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2012) with a special focus on the G20 economies. We estimated the required reduction effort by comparing the greenhouse gas emission targets implied by the INDCs with the projected levels resulting from current mitigation policies. The resulting projected global reduction effort amounts to approximately 4–6 GtCO2eq by 2030, of which the G20 economies are responsible for the largest share, in particular Brazil, China, the EU, and the United States. Despite these reductions, the global and G20 emission level is still projected to be higher in 2030 than it was in 2010. We compared the ambition levels of individual INDCs by analysing various indicators. Our analysis shows, for instance, that INDCs imply that greenhouse gas emissions of Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, and South Korea peak before 2025, and of China, India and South Africa by 2030 or later.

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  1. 1.

    The 187 countries represent 97 % of global emissions in 2012. The remaining emissions come from international aviation and shipping and from countries that have not submitted an INDC.

  2. 2.

    An interactive tool showing total emissions per country, emissions per capita, and emissions per unit of income, resulting from the current policies and INDCs, is available at:

  3. 3.

    The net-net LULUCF accounting method implies that credits and debits from the LULUCF sector are treated in the same way as any other GHG inventory sector.

  4. 4.

    We analysed the effects of an average annual GDP growth rate between 5 % and 7 % for China and between 6 % and 8 % for India (Supplementary text).

  5. 5.

    Population and GDP (in purchasing power parity, PPP) data are based on the SSP2 scenario database SSP database (2015).The SSP database uses the population and GDP history until 2008 from The World Bank (2015), with SSP growth projections from 2008 onwards.


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MdE, HvS, MR and NF received funding from the European Commission, Directorate General Climate Action (EC Service contract N°340201/2015/717962/SERJCLIMA.A4).

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Correspondence to Michel den Elzen.

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den Elzen, M., Admiraal, A., Roelfsema, M. et al. Contribution of the G20 economies to the global impact of the Paris agreement climate proposals. Climatic Change 137, 655–665 (2016).

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  • Emission Level
  • Current Policy
  • Global Emission
  • Ambition Level
  • Capita Emission