Exploring fair and ambitious mitigation contributions under the Paris Agreement goals

Xunzhang Pan*, Michel den Elzen, Niklas Höhne, Fei Teng, Lining Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

102 Citations (Scopus)


In order to achieve the Paris Agreement goals of keeping the temperature rise well below 2 °C or even 1.5 °C, all countries would need to make fair and ambitious contributions to reducing emissions. A vast majority of countries have adopted reduction targets by 2030 in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). There are many alternative ways to analyze the fairness of national mitigation contributions. This article uses a model framework based on six equity principles of effort-sharing, to allocate countries’ reduction targets under global emissions scenarios consistent with meeting the Paris climate goals. It further compares these allocations with the NDCs. The analysis shows that most countries need to adopt more ambitious reduction targets by 2030 to meet 2 °C, and even more for 1.5 °C. In the context of 2 °C, the NDCs of the United States of America and the European Union lack ambition with respect to the approaches that emphasize responsibility; China's NDC projection falls short of satisfying any approach in 2030. In the context of 1.5 °C, only India, by implementing its most ambitious efforts by 2030, could be in line with most equity principles. For most countries, the NDCs would use most of their allowed emissions space for the entire 21 st century by 2030, posing a major challenge to transform to a pathway consistent with their fair contributions in the long-term.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-56
JournalEnvironmental Science & Policy
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Climate change
  • Effort-sharing
  • Fairness
  • NDCs
  • Paris Agreement


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