Are Countries Keeping their Paris Agreement Promises?

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CO2 emissions by country

The study reviews the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) of the six Southeast Asian countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. It compares them to their current and future emissions in the transport energy sectors.

The NDCs represent each country’s carbon reduction targets and adaptation strategies to climate change (Nationally Determined Contributions, 2019). These NDCs are then submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Paris Agreement.

These pledges, however, are only voluntary with no legal or political commitment leaving it up to each country to make good on their promises, the study says.

The paper showed that although the NDCs offer many policies to reach their emissions targets, these goals are not ‘quantified’, meaning there is no way to measure how each policy can reach its emissions target.

The study compares each country’s CO2 emissions per capita and gross domestic product (GDP) and then looks at their policies and strategies. It also looks at their reduction target and what year they plan to achieve these targets.

It used the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) data to get the following information: population, historical GDP and emissions, and their business-as-usual emissions projection.

Some of the study’s key findings revealed that most countries will see a rapid increase in emissions from their energy sector in a business as usual scenario, doubling in countries like Indonesia, Philippines, and Vietnam, except Singapore, by 2030.  

Target reductions vary from each country relative to their 2010 emissions and the projected business as usual emissions by 2030, with some countries showing little or no reductions by 2030.

It is essential to review the NDCs of each country to know whether their policies or plans to curb carbon emissions are enough to make a significant dent in reducing the amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.  

The paper concludes that more analysis is needed to understand how these policies can achieve carbon emissions reductions and whether these plans are even adequate to hit the carbon emissions targets stated in their NDCs.

The study is helpful for policy-makers, climate advocates, and stakeholders to keep track of the climate actions that each country is doing.

To access the entire report, click the link below:

To cite this work, please use the following reference:

Fulton, L., Mejia, A., Arioli, M., Dematera, K., Lah, O. (2017). Climate Change Mitigation Pathways for Southeast Asia: CO2 Emissions Reduction Policies for the Energy and Transport Sectors. MDPI Open Access Journals. Retrieved from:

Nationally Determined Contribution (NDCs). (2019). United Nations Climate Change. Retrieved from

PHOTO CREDIT: By Vinny Burgoo – self-made using data from the World Resources Institute and a blank map by Canuckguy and others, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

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