The Paris Agreement aims to limit global warming by 2 degrees Celsius, or about 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, above pre-industrial temperatures. To achieve this goal, countries put forward individual plans, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), that outline their proposed emissions reductions and adaptation strategies.
While the Agreement requires every country to submit a plan, there are no stipulations dictating how, or by how much, countries should cut emissions. There are also no strict guidelines on content, scope, or format. Thus, NDCs can differ significantly, varying with regard to their specific goals, level of ambition, measurements of emissions cuts, and even document length.
The one thing that unites NDCs is that in their current state, they are insufficient to achieve the Paris Agreement’s objective.
Bhutan and Japan represent two ends of this spectrum. Bhutan, a landlocked, forested country in South Asia, submitted a climate pledge considered to be exceptional.