Beyond the targets: assessing the political credibility of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs)
Evidence shows that the emissions reduction pledges put forward in countries’ Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) ahead of COP21 in Paris are not sufficiently ambitious to keep the increase in global average temperature below the internationally agreed 2°C threshold. However, while emissions targets are important, alone they say little about countries’ ability for credible policy implementation. This paper assesses the credibility of the INDCs submitted by G20 countries. It scores each country’s INDC against the key determinates of national policy credibility. For the purpose of this analysis these are defined as:
- a coherent and comprehensive legislative and policy basis
- a transparent, inclusive and effective decision-making process with sufficient political constraints to limit policy reversal
- dedicated public bodies supported by a consultative mechanisms
- supportive private bodies
- a history of active international engagement on environmental issues
- climate-aware public opinion
- a track record of delivering on past climate change commitments and no history of policy abolition.
This analysis identifies three groups of countries among the G20:
- For a number of countries most determinants score as ‘largely supportive’ to the credibility of their INDC. These countries include the EU and its individual G20 members (France, Germany, Italy and the UK), as well as South Korea.
- Several countries have several determinants which are at least ‘moderately supportive’ to the credibility of their INDC, but display a significant weakness in one determinant. This group includes Australia, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, South Africa and the USA.
- A number of countries have scope for significantly increasing credibility across most determinants. These are Argentina, Canada, China, India, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia.The analysis presented in this paper provides insights on where the G20 countries could focus action to boost the credibility of their INDCs. It will also be useful for other developed and developing countries, most of which, while having unique national circumstances, will need to strengthen the credibility of their INDCs to a greater or lesser extent along the main determinants identified in this paper.