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GHG-Framed Mitigation Actions by Developing Countries

Forty-one developing countries have submitted mitigation actions under the UNFCCC in line with the 2010 Cancun agreements. This paper examines the subset of developing country actions that are framed in greenhouse gas (GHG) terms.

Executive Summary

International negotiations on climate change have recognized the importance of enhanced national action on mitigation, and of finance, technology, and capacity-building support to developing countries. Since 2009, a growing number of developed and developing countries have pledged mitigation targets and actions, and developed countries have committed to provide financing to developing countries, including US$30 billion in “fast-start” finance during 2010 – 2012.

WRI has tracked these targets, actions, and pledges since 2009 in an effort to shed light on their implications for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and for finance, respectively, and to call attention to data gaps.

This paper summarizes a subset of the mitigation actions announced by developing country parties and submitted to the UNFCCC, focusing on those actions that are framed in GHG terms. While 41 developing countries have put forward actions that take a variety of forms, this summary includes only those 16 countries that have framed their actions in terms of their expected GHG impact, i.e. “GHG-framed mitigation actions.” The types of GHG-framed mitigation actions examined in this paper are illustrated in Box 1.

Ultimately, it will be important to understand the GHG impact of all targets and actions that have been pledged internationally. In light of the diversity of forms that developing country actions take, however, we focus first on those that are framed in GHG terms. This approach allows us to identify the accounting and performance-tracking issues common to this form. Additionally, the developing countries that have framed their actions in GHG terms contributed approximately 60 percent of all developing country GHG emissions in the year 2000.

The purpose of this paper is to identify (a) the GHG impacts that could result from the mitigation actions assessed and (b) the accounting questions that would need to be clarified in order to better understand the magnitude of those impacts. It does not attempt to compare the actions to one another or to assess their ambition, adequacy or appropriateness.

This paper builds on a previous summary, released in 2010, that presented actions articulated in the Copenhagen Accord and in other country announcements.

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