At the 19th session of the Committee of Parties (COP19) in 2013 in Warsaw, Poland, countries agreed to voluntarily submit their post 2020 climate actions known as their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC).
INDCs reflect each country’s planned climate actions for reducing emissions and addressing climate change in their own countries, to achieve the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement. 163 INDCs from 190 countries have been submitted (state October 2016). “The INDC of the European Union and its member states is counted as one INDC representing 29 Parties (the European Union and its 28 member states).” Together, the countries which have submitted an INDCs account for 95.6% of total global emissions.
All submitted INDCs outline how the respective country plans to contribute to climate change mitigation. In addition, many INDCs (around 83%) also include information on how they plan to adapt to the effects of climate change.  Some countries also outline what support they will need to achieve their INDC or what support they will provide to other countries to help them reach their targets. Several countries (mostly developing nations) have linked their INDCs, or a part of them, to certain conditions. Usually these conditions include receiving financial or technological development support from other countries in order to help them achieve their INDCs.
Due to quite vague INDC guidelines the nature of the submissions and the way in which each country has set their targets varies greatly. Some INDCs are phrased in relation to GDP, while others are based on reducing emissions in comparison to peak years or departing from a business-as-usual scenario.
INDC to NDC
The word ‘Intended’ was used to communicate proposed climate actions ahead of the Paris climate conference. However, after adapting the Paris Agreement, countries are required to formalize their national climate plans and submit them to the UNFCCC. After this stage the word ‘Intended’ is dropped and they officially become Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC). The countries are required to submit an updated NDC every five years to represent the progress made since the last INDC and to reflect the highest possible ambitions. 
Expected Impact of the INDCs
According to the UNFCCC the “INDCs represent a major step forward in efforts to address climate change and presents some challenges and opportunities relating to keeping temperature rise below 2°C”.  It is not expected that the INDCs will be enough to actually lower global emission levels, compared with aggregated emission levels in 1990, 2000 and 2010. The INDCs by themselves are not likely to be enough to ensure that global atmospheric temperatures stay below 2°C. A full implementation of the all countries’ conditional INDCs “would still leave an emission gap of 14 GtCO2e relative to the global emission level needed for keeping the temperature increase below 2 °C”.  If the conditional INDCs are also implemented, then this gap would be reduced to 12 GtCO2e, but still not be enough to achieve the 2°C target.
However, the hope is that the INDCs will contribute to slowing down the current growth of emission levels by one third in the 2010–2030 period compared to the period 1990–2010. “They will deliver a reduction of 9 and 11 GtCO2e by 2030, compared to the business as usual scenario, for the full implementation of all unconditional and conditional INDCs, respectively.” This expected reduced growth in emissions is shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Predicted Impact of the INDC's on Global Emissions. (UNFCCC 2016)
While this may look like a relatively small impact the INDCs are still be seen as a global achievement in terms of climate change mitigation efforts. The INDCs have brought together a record number of countries to take climate action and they cover a large number of sectors and greenhouse gases. As a result of the INDCs many countries adopted more advanced policies and ambitious targets to mitigate climate change. Furthermore, the INDCs have increased international awareness on the issues of climate change, as well as having moved the topic further up on the political agendas of many countries’ governments. This should result in improved institutional infrastructure and increased development in the areas of renewable energy, energy efficiency sustainable transport, carbon capture and storage, conservation and sustainable management of forests, sustainable agriculture and opportunities to reduce emissions of non-CO2 gases.
List of Nationally Determined Contributions in Several Countries
To view the up-to date list of all submitted INDC’s go to the United Nations INDC submissions page.
Here is a brief summary overview of the INDC/NDC of a few countries:
Burkina Faso submitted their INDC in September 2015. Amongst other things the policy includes the planned expansion of improved cookstoves, in order to reduce the use of firewood in the country. The INDC sets a target of reaching 50% of the population in urban and semi-urban area, as well as getting 80% of dolo beer brewers (95% or those in rural areas and 100% of those in urban and semi-urban areas) to use improved cookstoves.
To view Burkina Faso’s full INDC submission click here.
The INDC submitted by India highlighted eight key goals – “sustainable lifestyles, cleaner economic development, reducing emission intensity of GDP, increasing the share of non-fossil fuel based electricity, enhancing carbon sink, adaptation and mobilising finance, technology transfer and capacity building”.
Mitigation efforts under INDC for energy are:
- It aims to achieve a target of 60 GW of wind power installed capacity by 2022.
- solar expansion programme seeks to enhance the capacity to 100 GW by 2022, Government of India is also promoting solarization of all the 55,000 petrol pumps
across the country out of which about 3,135 petrol pumps have already been solarized.
- It is envisaged to increase biomass installed capacity to 10 GW by 2022 from current capacity of 4.4 GW.
- Special programmes to promote small and mini hydel projects, new and efficient designs of water mills have been introduced for electrification of remote villages
- National Smart Grid Mission has been launched to bring efficiency in power supply network and facilitate reduction in losses and outages. Green Energy Corridor projects worth INR (Indian National Rupee) 380 billion (USD 6 billion) are also being rolled out to ensure evacuation of renewable energy.
- To achieve about 40 percent cumulative electric power installed capacity from no fossil fuel based energy resources by 2030 with the help of transfer of technology and low cost international finance including from Green Climate Fund (GCF).
To view India’s full INDC submission click here.
Kenya submitted its INDC on the 24th of July 2015. It includes the goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% until 2030, which will, in part, be achieved through the increased use of clean cook stoves. Kenya’s INDC is one of those which includes mitigation as well as adaption aspects.
To view Kenya’s full INDC submission click here.
Nepal uploaded their INDC to the UNFCCC site on the 11th of February 2016. The country aims to reduce its dependency on fossil fuels by 50% as well as to achieve 80% electrification (counting both on and off grid) through a mix of renewable energy sources. These goals are set to be achieved by 2025.
To view Nepal’s full INDC submission click here.
Rwanda submitted their INDC in November 2015. One of the goals of the INDC is to expand energy access in the country, especially through small scale energy installations in rural communities, such as PV powered mini-grids. The INDC also outlines how increasing electrification will have positive impacts on income generating activities for rural business, help support the national forestry management program, as well as mitigate some of the effects of climate change.
To view Rwanda’s full INDC submission click here.
Senegal’s INDC was submitted on the 26th of September 2015. It includes sever targets for energy production. One aspect is to increasing the production of power from solar PV (up to 160MW), wind (up to 150MW) and hydropower (144MW/522GWh). Furthermore, Senegal will aim to improve rural electrification, in part through new mini-grid installations and bio-digesters.
To view Senegal’s full INDC submission click here
- ↑ World Resources Institute. CAIT Climate Data Explorer. 5 October 2016. http://cait.wri.org/indc/ (accessed October 15, 2016).
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 UNFCCC. Aggregate effect of the intended nationally determined contributions: an update . Marrakech: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, 2016.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 World Resources Institute. What is an INDC? 2015. http://www.wri.org/indc-definition (accessed October 16, 2016).
- ↑ Yoe, Sophie. Explainer: What are ‘Intended Nationally Determined Contributions’? 13 March 2015. https://www.carbonbrief.org/explainer-what-are-intended-nationally-determined-contributions (accessed October 16, 2016).
- ↑ Northrop , Eliza. Papua New Guinea Is First Country to Finalize National Climate Plan Under Paris Agreement. 30 March 2016. http://www.wri.org/blog/2016/03/papua-new-guinea-first-country-finalize-national-climate-plan-under-paris-agreement (accessed October 16, 2016).
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 UNFCCC. Synthesis Report on the Aggregated Effect of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). Bonn: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, 2016.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 BPL Netherlands Environemental Assessment Agency. PBL Climate Pledge INDC tool. 2015. http://infographics.pbl.nl/indc/ (accessed October 16, 2016).
- ↑ Venkat, Vidya. ‘India to Cut Emissions Intensity’. The Hindu. 3 October 2015. http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/india-to-cut-emissions-intensity/article7717155.ece.fckLR
- ↑ India. ‘INDIA’S INTENDED NATIONALLY DETERMINED CONTRIBUTION: WORKING TOWARDS CLIMATE JUSTICE’, 2015. http://www4.unfccc.int/submissions/INDC/Published%20Documents/India/1/INDIA%20INDC%20TO%20UNFCCC.pdf.