Nationally Determined Contributions

  • Heard very often in the context of the just-concluded climate change conference in Katowice (Poland), NDCs or nationally determined contributions is an expression that refers to the climate actions that every country needs to take under the Paris Agreement.
  • The phrase “nationally determined” emphasises the fact that countries themselves decide what actions to take, unlike the scenario in the previous agreement, the Kyoto Protocol, in which a few countries were assigned specific targets.
  • And “contributions”, because each country’s actions is only a small part of the global effort against climate change.
  • Countries are free to decide for themselves what actions they can take to help in the global fight against climate change, in line with their resources and capacities.
  • So, richer and developed countries are expected, but not compelled, to take much stronger action than others.
  • The climate actions included in its NDC by any country cannot be questioned by others, either on grounds of strength, or on grounds of adequacy in the global effort. But its progress can be reviewed.
  • Currently, many countries have proposed NDCs that run until 2025, while others, including India, have proposed NDCs that go on until 2030. Countries are supposed to update their NDCs after those timelines, if not earlier, with fresh and stronger NDCs.
  • India has made three main promises in its NDC — that it will reduce its emission intensity, or the emission per unit of GDP by 33% to 35% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels, that it will ensure that at least 40% of its electricity in 2030 will come from non-fossil fuel sources, and that it will create 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of additional carbon sink through forests.


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