Climate change represents one of the greatest challenges but also an inordinate opportunity to catalyze a transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient Green Economy.

This report informs governments and the wider community on how far a response to climate change has progressed over the past 12 months, and thus how far the world is on track to meet wider goals.

The pledges associated with the Copenhagen Accord of 2009 are the point of departure for this report. What might be achieved in terms of limiting a global temperature rise to 2ºC or less in the 21st century and in terms of setting the stage for a Green Economy?

And what remains to be done - what is the gap between scientific reality and the current level of ambition of nations?         Read More


The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) would like to thank the Steering Committee, all the lead and contributing authors, and the Secretariat for their contribution to the development of this report.
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Interactive Map of Pledges

The interactive map shows the findings of the emission gap report and presents the current country pledges, for both Annex 1 countries and Non Annex 1 countries, and the remaining gap for reaching global climate change mitigation goals.
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    Lead authors: Kelly Levin, Murray Ward
    Contributing authors: Claudio Gesteira, Fabian Wagner

    This publication aims to assess the following questions: are countries’ pledges of action collectively consistent with and, if implemented, likely to achieve the 2˚C and 1.5˚C temperature goals? If not, how big is the gap between emission levels consistent with these temperature goals and the emissions expected as a result of the pledges?

    In responding to these questions, we are confronted with a series of highly complex issues, which result from scientific and political factors.

    Also in this Chapter
    Glossary Acronyms Technical Summary 1.1 Copenhagen, Temperature Limits and Pledges 1.2 Scope Of The Report 1.3 A Multi-Dimensional Challenge

    Lead authors: William Hare; Jason Lowe; Joeri Rogelj; Elizabeth Sawin; Detlef van Vuuren
    Contributing authors: Valentina Bossetti; Tatsuya Hanaoka; Jiang Kejun; Ben Matthews; Brian O’Neill; Nicola Ranger; Keywan Riahi

    In Chapter 2, we focus on the likelihood of various emissions pathways staying within temperature limits. For these pathways we identify the period in which emissions peak, the level of emissions in 2020, and the corresponding emission reduction rates after 2020.

    Results include emissions pathways from many Integrated Assessment Models (IAM) and carbon cycle and climate models.

    Also in this Chapter
    2.1 Introduction 2.2 What Determines Long-Term Temperature? 2.3 Current Estimates Of Feasibility 2.4 What Emissions Pathways And Emission Levels In 2020 Are Consistent With 1.5°C And 2°C Limits? 2.5 Gaps In Knowledge And Further Work References

    Lead authors: Niklas Höhne, Chris Taylor
    Contributing authors: Claudine Chen; Rob Dellink; Michel den Elzen; Jørgen Fenhann; Claudio Gesteira; Kelly Levin; Emanuele Massetti; Caspar Olausson; Murray Ward; Zhao Xiusheng

    Chapter 3 reviews estimates of global emission levels in 2020 based on country emission pledges. Among the factors influencing these estimates are whether pledges are independent of, or conditional on, other countries’ actions, financing or technological support.

    For industrialized countries, key factors include: the accounting procedures for emissions or uptake of carbon from land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF); the potential for international climate finance, as agreed in the Copenhagen Accord to enable further emission reductions; the carry-over of emission reduction units from the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (2008-2012).

    Also in this Chapter
    3.1 Introduction 3.2 Global Aggregate Emissions Resulting From The Pledges 3.3 Analysis Of Differences Between The Estimates References

    Lead authors: Michel den Elzen, Keywan Riahi
    Contributing authors: William Hare; Niklas Höhne; Mikiko Kainuma; Jiang Kejun; Chris Taylor; Zhao Xiusheng

    Chapter 4 builds upon the previous two chapters by examining a possible ‘emissions gap’ in 2020 between emission levels consistent with temperature limits and expected emissions resulting from the pledges. It then goes on to explore policy options for narrowing the size of the gap.

    This Chapter shows that, in the majority of cases, there is a gap between the 2020 emission levels expected as a result of the current pledges and the emission levels that would be consistent with either a 2° C or 1.5° C limit.For a ‘likely’ chance of meeting the 2° C limit, the size of the gap can range between 5 and 9 GtCO2e depending on the pledge case under consideration.

    Also in this Chapter
    4.1 Introduction 4.2 Findings for 2° C 4.3 Findings for 1.5° C 4.4 Conclusions References

    Lead authors: William Hare, Jason Lowe, Joeri Rogelj, Elizabeth Sawin, Detlef van Vuuren
    Contributing authors: Valentina Bosetti, Tatsuya Hanaoka, Jiang Kejun, Ben Matthews, Brian O’Neill, Nicola Ranger, Keywan Riahi

    Chapter 5 goes a step further by reporting on possible long-term temperature changes following from current pledges.

    There is also widespread interest in the implications of 2020 pledges for long-term temperature change. Because future temperature increase is highly dependent upon cumulative emissions after 2020, it is not possible to link unambiguously current pledges with a future temperature outcome or likelihood without making assumptions about post 2020 emission levels.

    Also in this Chapter
    5.1 Introduction 5.2 Pledges In 2020 And Twenty-First Century Temperatures 5.3 Conclusions References

    The online version of the report contains three appendices with additional information about emission pledge calculations in this report.

    Appendix 1 provides detail on the differences between the four pledge cases described in Chapter 3 and the uncertainties around them.

    Appendix 2 provides a country-by-country analysis of the pledges of the largest emitting countries.

    Appendix 3 compares the findings of modelling groups that have assessed country pledges.

    Download the Appendices:

    Appendix 1: Further detail on the four pledge cases and the differences between estimates
    Appendix 2: Detailed information about countries’ pledges
    Appendix 3: Detailed information about the studies reviewed