Published by
Partnership on Transparency in the Paris Agreement (PATPA)

Second edition: Accounting for National Determined Contributions

The 2015 Paris Agreement requires Parties to regularly communicate nationally determined contributions (NDCs) in which they specify their national climate mitigation targets and actions (Article 4.2). Besides, the Paris Agreement establishes a transparency framework that requires countries to track and report their progress in implementing and achieving their NDCs (Article 13.7), whereas in parallel, the Agreement requires countries to account for their NDCs (Article 4.13) as a new mandatory. 

When the first edition – Accounting of Nationally Determined Contributions. Guidance for the Establishment of an Accounting for NDCs for absolute or relative mitigation targets with a baseline – was published, the rulebook of the Paris Agreement had not yet been adopted. The second edition presented here integrates relevant provisions of the Katowice Rulebook and decisions taken at COP26 in Glasgow.  

The Guidance provides structure to the process of establishing NDC accounting. It is applicable to two general types of mitigation targets distinguished by their reference period:   

  • Base year target, i.e. a mitigation target expressed in relation to the GHG emissions level in a historical base year or a period of several historical base years (e.g. a 20% GHG emission reduction below 2005 emission levels by 2030); and  
  • Baseline scenario target, i.e. a mitigation target ex- pressed as a deviation from a projected baseline scenario of business-as-usual (BAU) GHG emissions for the target year or period (e.g. a 20% reduction in 2030 emissions compared to the projected business-as-usual scenario emissions for 2030). Such projections typically represent a time series of BAU emissions from a historic start year until the target year or period.  

The Guidance is complemented by an accompanying Excel calculation tool (under development) which aims to help countries to implement the Guidance. 

The study has been prepared by the Öko-Institut e.V. and GIZ with inputs from PATPA, which is carried out on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV). You can download the study in the upper right margin of this article. 

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