Aligned to the Paris Agreement Temperature Goal

About This Route

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and subsequently limiting temperature increases will mitigate the frequency and magnitude of climate-related hazards, such as wildfires, droughts, storms, and extreme rainfall. This will also bring wider benefits, such as loss and damage avoidance, and potentially a reduced need to adapt to the consequences of climate change. With holistic planning approaches, mitigation action can also help avoid further negative consequences, such as negative economic impacts (e.g., stranded assets) and maladaptation. Decarbonization also has synergies with sustainable development and can lead to numerous socioeconomic benefits, such as green and sustainable jobs (in terms of both carbon footprint and income security), improved air quality and health, energy security (e.g., through energy efficiency and uptake of renewables), and economic growth, diversification, and circularity.

The IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report (“Synthesis Report”) shows that the cost of inaction in the medium to long term is likely much higher than the cost of action. Thus, mitigation action can help minimize countries’ adaptation efforts.

Meeting the Paris Agreement temperature goal will require countries to make rapid, sustained, and deep emissions reductions in the coming years. The IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report (“Synthesis Report”) finds that the global emissions trajectory aligned with the Paris Agreement temperature goal requires global greenhouse gas emissions (all gases) to peak before 2025. The Report presents further milestones of GHG and CO2 reductions to limit global average warming to 1.5°C, which is equivalent to 43 to 48 per cent by 2030, 60/65per cent by 2035 (the proposed time-frame for the NDCs 3.0), 69 to 80 per cent by 2040 and 84 to 99 per cent by 2050. Methane emissions specifically would also need to be reduced by around one-third from 2019 levels by 2030. Countries can use these milestones to help visualize the future and then work backward to draw up the action map needed to meet these goals.

Paris Agreement and International Context

The temperature goal of the Paris Agreement refers to the ambitious target of limiting the increase in global average temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. This goal is outlined as a key objective of the Agreement, alongside the broader aim of keeping the temperature increase well below 2 degrees Celsius, as per Article 2.1(a):

“This Agreement, in enhancing the implementation of the Convention, including its objective, aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change, in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty, including by: (a) Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change”

Article 4 then states how this should be achieved:

4.1. “In order to achieve the long-term temperature goal set out in Article 2, Parties aim to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible, recognizing that peaking will take longer for developing country Parties, and to undertake rapid reductions thereafter in accordance with best available science, so as to achieve a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century, on the basis of equity, and in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty.”

4.2. “Each Party shall prepare, communicate and maintain successive nationally determined contributions that it intends to achieve. Parties shall pursue domestic mitigation measures, with the aim of achieving the objectives of such contributions.”

4.3. “Each Party’s successive nationally determined contribution will represent a progression beyond the Party’s then current nationally determined contribution and reflect its highest possible ambition, reflecting its common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light of different national circumstances.”

4.4. “Developed country Parties should continue taking the lead by undertaking economy-wide absolute emission reduction targets. Developing country Parties should continue enhancing their mitigation efforts, and are encouraged to move over time towards economy-wide emission reduction or limitation targets in the light of different national circumstances.”

Reflecting the Global Stocktake

Following the first Global Stocktake, countries are required to reflect on its outcomes and recommendations in their NDC 3.0 (as per Article 4.9 of the Paris Agreement). Regarding mitigation, the GST “encourages Parties to come forward in their next nationally determined contributions with ambitious, economy-wide emission reduction targets, covering all greenhouse gases, sectors and categories and aligned with limiting global warming to 1.5 °C, as informed by the latest science, in the light of different national circumstances” and “Encourages Parties to communicate in 2025 their nationally determined contributions with an end date of 2035”. However, the GST additionally “Reaffirms the nationally determined nature of nationally determined contributions and Article 4, paragraph 4, of the Paris Agreement”. The NDCs 3.0 should therefore represent a progression from the last NDC and reflect highest possible ambition (as stipulated by the Paris Agreement and reiterated in the GST) but in a nationally appropriate way.

The GST also “encourages Parties to align their next nationally determined contributions with long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies” and “calls on Parties to contribute to the following global efforts, in a nationally determined manner, taking into account the Paris Agreement and their different national circumstances, pathways and approaches:

  • Tripling renewable energy capacity globally and doubling the global average annual rate of energy efficiency improvements by 2030;
  • Accelerating efforts towards the phase-down of unabated coal power;
  • Accelerating efforts globally towards net zero emission energy systems, utilizing zero- and low-carbon fuels, well before or by around mid-century;
  • Transitioning away from fossil fuels in energy systems, in a just, orderly and equitable manner, accelerating action in this critical decade, so as to achieve net zero by 2050 in keeping with the science;
  • Accelerating zero- and low-emission technologies, including, inter alia, renewables, nuclear, abatement and removal technologies such as carbon capture and utilization and storage, particularly in hard-to-abate sectors, and low-carbon hydrogen production;
  • Accelerating and substantially reducing non-carbon-dioxide emissions globally, including in particular methane emissions by 2030;
  • Accelerating the reduction of emissions from road transport on a range of pathways, including through development of infrastructure and rapid deployment of zero and low-emission vehicles;
  • Phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that do not address energy poverty or just transitions, as soon as possible”

In addition to these energy-related recommendations, the first GST also highlights the following non-energy-related outcomes for mitigation:

  • “Further emphasizes the importance of conserving, protecting and restoring nature and ecosystems towards achieving the Paris Agreement temperature goal, including through enhanced efforts towards halting and reversing deforestation and forest degradation by 2030, and other terrestrial and marine ecosystems acting as sinks and reservoirs of greenhouse gases and by conserving biodiversity, while ensuring social and environmental safeguards, in line with the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.”
  • “Invites Parties to preserve and restore oceans and coastal ecosystems and scale up, as appropriate, ocean-based mitigation action”.

Guiding Questions

Use the following guiding questions to reflect and identify the most nationally appropriate and impactful Opportunities within this Route, to explore more deeply:

Did the mitigation target of the last NDC include all sectors, categories, and gases? If no, are you looking to expand coverage?

Did the last NDC target consider any longer-term targets (e.g., LT-LEDS target, net-zero targets)? If an LT-LEDS did not exist when the previous NDC was created, does one now exist, and if so, does it have any longer-term targets to which the NDC 3.0 can be aligned?

Was the mitigation ambition of the last NDC assessed for alignment with a 1.5oC compatible emissions trajectory?

Were expected emissions reductions from NDC actions quantified in the last NDC (i.e., through modeling of future emissions projections)?

Do targets exist at the subnational or sector level that should be considered in the NDC target?

Is adaptation a priority in addition to mitigation?

Was leveraging the impacts and co-benefits of nature-based solutions for climate change mitigation/adaptation considered in the last NDC?

How This Links to Other Routes

Achieving the Paris Agreement temperature goal is inextricably linked to all other Routes of the NDC 3.0 Navigator, particularly for successful implementation. Some of the critical linkages with other Routes in the NDC 3.0 Navigator are:

Route: Aligned to Paris Agreement Global Goal on Adaptation

Reducing temperature increases helps limit or prevent climate impacts. Mitigation action can also have adaptation benefits, and vice versa.

Route: Delivers a Just and Equitable Transition

Meeting the temperature goal requires significant economic transformations. As noted in the GST, these transformations and transitions must be just and equitable, ensuring no one is left behind.

Route: Mobilizes All-Of-Government and All-Of-Society

Economy-wide emissions reductions require action in all sectors, by all actors, and across society. This action can be strengthened when it is embedded in national development plans, sector plans, non-state and sub-national plans, and incorporates all voices.

Route: Technology and Capacity-Building as Needs and Enablers

In many sectors, ambitious mitigation action requires finance and new, innovative technologies, which can involve technology transfer to developing countries. Many developing countries may require capacity building to support the development and implementation of ambitious mitigation actions.

Route: Technically Sound and Transparent Documents

NDCs provide information on how they contribute to the Paris Agreement temperature goal. Therefore, they must be transparent and underpinned by robust data and scientific evidence.

Route: Unlocks Finance

Many funders prioritize emission reduction benefits when making funding/investment choices, and climate finance can be more successfully unlocked where it clearly delivers against climate goals.

Support Opportunities

Support is available to countries to apply the learning from the navigator and develop ambitious NDCs 3.0.

Share Additional Resources

Contribute new guidance, tools and strategies to be reflected in the NDC 3.0.