Clean Energy and the Paris Promises

The 2015 Paris Agreement saw virtually every nation on Earth pledge to address the threat of climate change. Each country’s Nationally Determined Commitment (NDC) was unique, determined largely by economic and political circumstances. But nearly all presented opportunities for clean energy as zero-carbon technologies must inevitably be deployed if countries want to keep their power sector emissions in check. As part of its annual Climatescope survey of 71 developing countries, Bloomberg New Energy Finance sought to examine the ambition level of these developing nation NDCs and the opportunities each commitment presents for clean energy deployment.

Climatescope countries GHG emissions and the rest of the world, 2012

Source: International Energy Agency, Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Note: the full list of Climatescope countries is available in the appendices. 

  • Nearly every Climatescope country was a Paris signatory. Fourteen pledged to cut emissions in absolute terms, seven to reduce them in terms of intensity, and 33 to allow them to rise but at a slower pace than under a business-as-usual scenario. Seventeen made no emissions-specific promises at all.
  • Ten countries offered single commitments they promised to meet unconditionally. 19 said their commitments were conditional on wealthier nations providing financial assistance. 25 offered both unconditional and conditional promises. But two years since Paris, just 13 nations surveyed have actually implemented any domestic laws to limit emissions.
  • Power and heat account for the single largest share of overall CO2 emissions in Climatescope nations at 30% and most of that is related to power generation. Emissions from the sector rose 65% from 2003 to 2012 and thus it presents major opportunities for mitigation.
  • Countries with relatively high power sector emissions and the most ambitious NDCs offer the greatest opportunity for renewables. Among Climatescope countries, these included Azerbaijan, Argentina, Belarus, Chile, Mexico and Moldova. They could collectively achieve their entire unconditional targets purely by deploying clean energy.
  • Latin America and the Caribbean is the only Climatescope region which would achieve absolute expected emissions cuts if its collective conditional target is met. It is also the region where renewables stand to make the biggest potential impact toward countries meeting their NDC obligations.
  • Climatescope countries with relatively low power sector emissions and the most unambitious targets included Bangladesh, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine and Vietnam. In these nations, over 10% of total emissions come from the power sector. But they have relatively unambitious emissions reduction targets. Such high power sector emissions present policy-makers opportunities to craft more aggressive emissions control goals.


The data was collected as part of BNEF’s annual Climatescope project, a unique country-by-country assessment, interactive report and index that evaluates the progress made by emerging markets in their energy transition. Visit for the entire report.

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