These countries’ commitments will help our climate

incinerator in background on the outskirts of Paris, Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021. Weeks before leaders gather for a U.N. summit in Glasgow, recent scientific reports paint a dire picture of the international effort to curb greenhouse gas emissions, and the U.N. warned this week that more needs to be do

The United States is among the many nations committing to major greenhouse gas reductions ahead of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) this November.

“More and more countries are emboldening their commitments to climate action — and they’re reaping the benefits for their people and their economies,” said U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry in July while in London.

What is an NDC?

A nationally determined contribution (NDC) is a target or pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or otherwise help lessen the effects of climate change, made by a country under the Paris Agreement.

These targets are often accompanied by related strategies, policies and measures governments intend to implement to achieve them, as a contribution to global climate action.

Countries first announced NDCs when the Paris Agreement was negotiated in 2015 and are making new NDCs ahead of COP26 this year.

Countries worldwide pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

So far, over 90 states have submitted new or updated NDCs. Among the most ambitious:

  • Costa Rica committed to limit emissions to 9.11 megatons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2030.
  • The European Union endorsed a 2030 emissions reduction that is 55% below 1990 levels.
  • The Gambia committed to reduce emissions 49.7% below projected levels in 2030.
  • The United Kingdom committed to reduce emissions 68% below 1990 levels by 2030.
  • The United States, where emissions from energy consumption have been in decline for years, set a target to further reduce emissions 50–52% below 2005 levels by 2030.

By following NDCs with concrete actions, countries will make critical contributions to address the climate crisis. But it will take collective action from several countries around the world to meet goals and maximize impact.

On September 23, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres urged all states to continue to announce enhanced NDCs ahead of COP26 and to turn those commitments into “concrete and immediate action.”

“Collectively, we need a 45 percent cut in global emissions by 2030,” he said.