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UK Nationally Determined Contribution to the Paris Agreement

February 12, 2021
News item image Each Paris Agreement signatory had the opportunity to submit an updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) by the end of 2020. Only 45 parties (including the EU’s 27 member states as one party) met this deadline, representing just 28% of global emissions, and excluding major emitters like the US, India and China.

The UK submitted an updated NDC in December and committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 68% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. This equates to per capita emissions falling from around 14 tCO2e/person in 1990 to 4 tCO2e/person in 2030. This is more ambitious than the UK’s previous contribution, which was a 53% reduction in emissions by 2030. The IPCC estimates that global net emissions will need to decrease by around 45% by 2030, compared to 2010 levels, to be consistent with a 1.5°C pathway.

What does the UK target include and exclude?

  • The target includes all major greenhouse gases, not just carbon dioxide, emitted and removed within Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
  • It currently excludes emissions and removals from the UK’s Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories.
  • It excludes emissions from international aviation and shipping; these emissions are reported as a memo item in the UK’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory.
  • It excludes emissions released during the production of goods imported to the UK. Such ‘consumption emissions’ constitute around 43% of the UK’s total emissions, and have increased three-fold 1990-2016.

Read the NDC here, a critique from ODI here, and a commentary of NDC progress from CarbonBrief here. The UK also published an Adaptation Communication and a Finance Biennial Communication.