Cross-national patterns of governance mechanisms in nationally determined contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement

The continuous submission and scaling-up of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) constitutes a key feature of the Paris Agreement. In their NDCs, states propose governance mechanisms for implementation of climate action, in turn distinguishing appropriate roles for the state in climate governance. Clarity on Parties’ suggested roles for the state makes explicit assumptions on the premise of climate policy, in turn contributing to enhanced transparency in negotiations on the scaling-up of NDCs. This also speaks to ongoing debates on roles for the state in climate governance literature. This article identifies the governance mechanisms proposed by states in their NDCs and the roles for the state envisioned by those governance mechanisms, and also examines how cross-national patterns of roles for the state break or converge with conventional patterns of international politics. The analysis shows that states propose a plurality of roles, which to different extents may be complementary or conflictual. We conclude that income, region, and the Annexes under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) are important for understanding suggested roles for the state, but that there are nuances to be further explored. We argue that this paper has three key findings: i) a majority of states rely on market mechanisms to implement their NDCs while rules on implementation and assessment of market mechanisms are still an outstanding issue in the negotiations, meaning that resolving this issue will be essential; ii) the process for evaluating and assessing qualitative governance mechanisms needs to be specified; and iii) increased awareness of differing views on the state’s roles makes explicit different perspectives on what constitutes an ambitious and legitimate contribution to combating climate change.


Keywords: Paris Agreementclimate changenationally determined contributionsgovernance mechanismspolicy instruments

Authors of this publication

Andreas Duit , Björn-Ola Linnér , Jens Nilsson , Maria Jernnäs ,