On 11 August 2015, the Australian Government submitted its long awaited Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Secretariat (UNFCCC Secretariat). Australia’s submission brings the total of INDCs received by the UNFCCC Secretariat to 26 comprised of 53 countries.1
INDCs are being submitted to the UNFCCC Secretariat in advance of the 21st Conference of Parties which will take place in Paris at the end of the year (COP21).
INDCs are indications of each country’s post-2020 emissions reduction targets and actions that the country intends to take, having regard to its own domestic priorities, circumstances and capabilities.
Countries which have submitted INDCs to date include the following:
|Submission No.|| Country||Date|
|1||Switzerland||27 February 2015|
|2||Latvia and the European Commission on behalf of the European Union and its Member States||6 March 2015|
|3||Norway||27 March 2015|
|4||Mexico||30 March 2015|
|5||United States of America||21 March 2015|
|7||Russia||1 April 2015|
|10||Canada||15 May 2015|
|15||China||30 June 2015|
|18||New Zealand||7 July 2015|
|19||Japan||17 July 2015|
|26||Australia||11 August 2015|
The above table is correct as at 11 August 2015.
In the Lima Call for Climate Action adopted at COP 20 in December 2014, countries were invited to submit their INDCs 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.’
While only countries (as parties to the UNFCCC) are able to submit INDCs, emission reductions are also key agenda items for organisations around the world. For example, on 2 July 2015, the Compact of States and Regions (comprised of sub-national governments from the North, Central and South Americas, Europe and Australia), released its first round of targets to reduce carbon emissions, ‘some as ambitious as 90% by 2050 and 100% by 2060’ (see press release here). Further, on 29 June 2015, Australian organisations participating in the Australian Climate Roundtable released a statement on their Joint Principles for Climate Policy, recognising that ‘Australia should play its fair part in global efforts to avoid 2°C and the serious economic, social and environmental impacts that unconstrained climate change would have on Australia.’
This update provides a brief overview of the INDCs received from the EU, United States of America (US), China, Canada and Australia, and also considers assessments of how those targets ‘measure up’ against each other.