Sustainability (Mar 2019)

Committing to the Climate: A Global Study of Accountable Climate Targets

  • Frida Boräng,
  • Simon Felgendreher,
  • Niklas Harring,
  • Åsa Löfgren

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 11, no. 7
p. 1861


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The Paris Agreement has been described by many as a historical event, a turning point in the United Nations’ climate negotiations. Its success is often attributed to the intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs), in which countries have committed themselves to individually set targets in order to reduce emissions. However, it still remains to be agreed upon how to review and compare countries’ efforts, as outlined in the INDCs (and at later stages in the nationally determined contributions—NDCs). In this paper we suggest (and construct) a simple quantitative measure which is transparent, ensures valid comparison over time, and which can be determined for a large share of countries; a comparable indicator of country commitments in terms of so called accountable climate targets (ACTs). This indicator is then combined with a global data set of political–institutional, economic and geographic variables to understand more about which factors may affect country commitments. The results from multivariate probability unit (probit) regressions show that egalitarian principles, as well as GDP per capita, tend to be positively associated with climate commitments, while a negative association is found for CO2 emissions per capita.