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Aligning objectives: international climate commitments and national energy strategies

Research reports

Written by Andrew Scott, Laurie van der Burg, Sejal Patel

The Paris Agreement came into force on 4 November 2016. Its parties have committed to contribute to the goal of keeping the average global temperature rise well-below 2 degrees Celsius, and to pursue efforts to keep the rise to 1.5 degrees.

Achieving this goal will require decarbonising the world’s energy systems before the end of the century. Currently, energy production and consumption account for about two-thirds of the global greenhouse gas emissions; to transition to lower-carbon energy systems, renewable energy sources must be substituted for carbon-intensive ones, while energy consumption must be reduced.

Countries’ pledged contributions to global emission reduction are set out in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Not all NDCs include action to reduce emissions from energy; when they do, they may not be specific about the planned action, and may not account for emissions from all energy sources.

This report and policy brief assesses the extent to which national plans and objectives for the development of energy systems in developing countries contribute to their NDCs. This includes national objectives towards the energy targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It concludes that:

  • energy emissions should be included in all NDCs;
  • energy sector plans, SDG implementation plans and NDCs should be aligned; and
  • developing countries need international support to revise national energy plans and enable them to plan for low-carbon systems.
Andrew Scott, Laurie Van der Burg and Sejal Patel