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The EU’s NDC after the Talanoa Dialogue

Author(s): ALLOISIO Isabella, BORGHESI Simone, NICOLLI Francesco, STOEFS Wijnand, VANGENECHTEN Domien

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Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) represent the efforts of Parties to the Paris Agreement to reach the Paris Agreement’s long-term goal of limiting warming to well below 2°C, with efforts to limit temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Parties are requested to communicate their first NDC, or update their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, by 2020.
After 2020, the Paris Agreement’s five-yearly stocktaking cycle will provide a regular cycle for increasing ambition. The first stocktaking cycle will start in 2023. Every five years the NDCs must be updated, with each successive NDC representing a progression in ambition beyond the previous one.
This so-called ratchet-up mechanism seeks to, over time, bridge the gap between the current combined mitigation commitments from countries and the emissions reductions that are necessary to reach the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement. This timeframe allows Parties to consider scientific, technological and legislative developments and, therefore, make the new NDCs more ambitious than the previous ones.
The European Union (EU) was one of the Parties under the Paris Agreement calling for the inclusion of the ratchet-up mechanism for ambition. Therefore, failing to enhance the EU NDC could lead to a loss of credibility and weaken the EU’s influence in climate negotiations under the auspices of the UNFCCC. The EU can lead by example by issuing a more ambition NDC. This enhanced NDC would play a critical role creating momentum on the international level and motivating other Parties to further enhance the ambition of their NDCs.
This paper explores a number of major options that the EU could consider if the decision is made to enhance the EU NDC. It shows that the options are varied, with significant differences in terms of additional mitigation effort, political will and environmental impacts.
These options have been discussed through workshops with stakeholders and policy makers and an online survey. The survey asked participants to rate the political and social acceptability, as well as competitive, international and environmental impacts of 9 options for enhancing the EU NDC set out in this paper. The results of these efforts to gather input and foster discussion are analysed at the end of the paper.