How climate targets compare against a common baseline

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NEW CLIMATE announcements are coming thick and fast. In recent weeks dozens of countries, including Nigeria and Malaysia, updated the mitigation plans known as “nationally determined contributions” (NDCs) required under the Paris climate agreement of 2015. The deal obliges its signatories to increase the ambition of their NDCs every five years. The original deadline for the first round of updates was COP26, the UN climate summit in Glasgow in 2020. However, because of the covid-19 pandemic, the shindig’s start was delayed until October this year. So far, 58% of the 191 signatories have submitted new NDCs.

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Countries’ climate targets come in many shapes and sizes. Around two-thirds of the global economy is now covered by a pledge to achieve “net-zero” emissions by around mid-century. The array of different…

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