Climate change policy profiles of key nations


Publication October 2015

Our global network of leading climate lawyers has created summaries of the positions that have been adopted by a number key nations in the lead up to COP21.

In the Lima Call for Climate Action adopted at COP20 in December 2014, nations were invited to submit their Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Secretariat (UNFCCC Secretariat) well in advance of COP21. INDCs received by 1 October 2015 will be included in a synthesis report by the UNFCCC Secretariat on the aggregate effect of the INDCs, expected to be released by 1 November 2015. According to the UN Climate Change Newsroom, the INDCs aggregated in the synthesis report ‘will provide critical information necessary to tally the collective efforts and measure whether the world is on track for an effective agreement in Paris.’

INDCs are indications of each nation’s post-2020 emissions reduction targets and actions that the nation intends to take, having regard to its own domestic priorities, circumstances and capabilities. They are required to set out:

  • the target (by reference to the applicable base year)
  • the timeframe for implementation
  • the proposed scope and coverage
  • the planning processes
  • any assumptions and methodologies for estimating and accounting for greenhouse gases
  • how the nation considers that its INDC is fair and ambitious, in light of its national circumstances
  • how the INDC contributes towards achieving the ultimate objective of the UNFCC to achieve:

    stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Such a level should be achieved within a time frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner (UNFCCC, Article 2).

Most of the INDC’s submitted to date also contain either a specific or a general commitment to increasing the production of renewable energy.

Each of the profiles linked below summarises the INDC that has been released for several key nations. They also summarise the domestic law and policy that is currently in play for carbon market mechanisms and offset schemes, renewable energy, energy efficiency and financial support within that nation. It is this current position, and any announced policy for the future, that gives an indication of the ease or difficulty that the nation will have in meeting its target and the relative strength it will be bringing to the COP21 negotiations. This will become particularly important if INDCs become legally binding.

 Australia  Canada  China  Colombia

 Europe  Ethiopia  India  Indonesia

 Kenya  Mexico  Morocco  Russia

 South Korea   Tanzania  US Blank

Recent publications

Subscribe and stay up to date with the latest legal news, information and events...