A pair of studies in Nature found that as of 2017 none of the major industrialized nations were implementing the policies they had pledged at the 2015 Paris agreement, and none met their pledged emission reduction targets,[103] and even if they had, the sum of all member pledges (as of 2016) would not keep global temperature rise "well below 2 °C".

Most governments have done very little towards implementing the NDCs at 2015 agreements. James Hansen, a former NASA scientist and leading climate change expert, voiced anger that most of the Agreement consists of "promises" or aims and not firm commitments and called the Paris talks a fraud with "no action, just promises" I am just very curious to know why didn't they implement the NDCs aggresively?

According to the 2020 United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), with the current climate commitments of the Paris Agreement, global mean temperatures will likely rise by more than 3 °C by the end of the 21st century.

In 2021, a study using a probabilistic model concluded that the rates of emissions reductions would have to increase by 80% beyond NDCs to likely meet the 2 °C upper target of the Paris Agreement, that the probabilities of major emitters meeting their NDCs without such an increase is very low.

question : what was the Reason for most governments not converting their pledges into concrete action at the 2015 agreement,in regards to coal reduction. (even context of climate finance,reducing emissions from transport,investing in solar energy, would be appreciatable etc)


NDC-NDCs are national climate plans highlighting climate actions, including climate related targets, policies and measures governments aims to implement in response to climate change ex:limiting emmisions within 1.5 celsius

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    Can you add what a NDC is to the question?
    – Joe W
    Commented Jan 28, 2022 at 17:41
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    because the political will simply doesn't exist
    – eps
    Commented Jan 28, 2022 at 18:15
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    for example, in the US, even though many polls show people are concerned about climate change, the same polling also shows that the vast majority of people (~75+%) are completely against anything that would increase their costs (gas price increases, energy surcharges etc) even slightly (people were majorly opposed to even spending $100 more per year to help fix CC) or make them have to change their lives in any significant way.
    – eps
    Commented Jan 28, 2022 at 18:17
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    @eps probably because "the majority of people" aren't responsible, and the 90 companies that are responsible for 2/3 of carbon emissions since 1750 spend trillions on lobbying.
    – LShaver
    Commented Jan 28, 2022 at 18:23
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    I think this is far too broad; there are 195 signatories to the agreement, so in theory there could be 195 answers to this question. I think you'll either need to limit which countries you're interested in, or which aspect of the NDCs you're interested in (seems like maybe it's coal?).
    – LShaver
    Commented Jan 28, 2022 at 18:25

1 Answer 1


Enacting new environmental regulations entails significant economic costs for the nations implementing them, and significant political costs for the governments doing so.

But, there are no real penalties for failing to meet the aspirational goals of the Paris Accords, although there are some procedural and paperwork reporting type obligations that are mandatory (and those mandatory obligations, while trivial in climate change outcome substance, mostly were honored).

So, in a cost-benefit analysis, the aspirational goals of the Paris Accords often got short shrift or were only partially enacted. They had a similar status to political campaign promises that are sometimes fulfilled but often not, for example, because it proves to difficult in the end to do so.

Further, when each member country is acting on this cost-benefit analysis model and faces no significant penalties for their failures to act, the collective action problem that a multi-lateral treaty like the Paris Accords was supposed to address still isn't solved.

Individual nation's actions only provide the full benefit that they were intended to (in which the costs they incur is roughly proportionate to their share of the benefit from the collective effort to reduce emissions as a whole), if the big players predominantly fulfill their targets. When some of them fail to do that, the other parties to the treaty don't get their full share of the benefit they bargained for in the deal, and this creates a vicious cycle of non-compliance.

This said, it wouldn't be correct to simply write the 2015 deal off as a failure. The diplomats have not allowed the best to be the enemy of the good, and instead have practiced the reality that politics is the art of the possible.

While no major industrialized nations meet all their goals on time, almost all major industrial nations have taken some actions to reduce climate change that they would not have taken in the absence of the 2015 deal. Likewise, some of the goals will ultimately be met even though they will be met behind the ambitious schedules that the signatories set for themselves (knowing that there would be no real penalties for achieving these goals late, but that there would be political benefits to announcing a deal that was supposed to be better than it was likely to be in practice).

A deal with binding obligations to meet the aspirational deadlines it set forth probably wouldn't have resulted in any agreement at all, which would have been worse than what was actually accomplished.

The 2015 agreements also establish a framework which can readily be adapted with far less negotiations, in a path of least resistance, to provide for more binding and enforceable substantive targets in the future, if the nations of the world develop a stronger political will to address the problem as the pressing nature of the problem it addresses becomes more imminent and evident in the eyes of the constituents of these countries whose views drive what politicians are able to accomplish (see, e.g., the median voter theorem).

Even if the problem seems imminent and evident already in 2015 to the well informed diplomats that negotiated the agreements. Sometimes it takes rank and file voters a while to catch up with what their leaders who are acting in good faith already know much earlier.

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