Are Nationally Determined Contributions aligned with the commitments and initiatives on transport announced on the occasion of COP26? A Comparative Analysis by SLOCAT

Introduction

The 2021 UN Climate Conference COP26 saw an unprecedented number of commitments and initiatives on sustainable, low carbon transport. This comparative analysis examines to what extent Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are aligned with these transport commitments and initiatives pledged by countries. Since the COP26 Glasgow Climate Pact requested countries to revisit their NDCs and strengthen their climate action targets ahead of COP27, this analysis is an evolution of the preliminary analysis released by SLOCAT in November 2021. Based on publicly available information as of 15 September 2022, the SLOCAT Secretariat has examined whether this opportunity to better align NDCs to the COP26 transport commitments and initiatives has been leveraged by countries. We have also identified new signatories to the commitments and initiatives since their launch in November 2021.

Analysis methodology

This analysis is based on publicly available information as of 15 September 2022. The general intention of the announced transport commitment was compared to transport actions and targets included in the NDC of the signatory country. The analysis focused only on second-generation NDCs (covering Second NDCs and Updated NDCs). Only the major five transport commitments and initiatives that have country signatories were included in the analysis. For identifying new countries supporting these commitments after COP26, the signatories were retrieved from the respective declaration webpages and compared to the countries that signed each commitment during the time of launch in November 2021 at COP26, of which SLOCAT kept record.

Keen on the transport dimension of NDCs? Check out the GIZ-SLOCAT Tracker of Climate Strategies for Transport and the SLOCAT Analysis Report of NDCs and Long-Term Strategies.

Based on publicly available information of 15 September 2022.

Overall, the number of signatories to COP26 commitments has generally increased since November 2021. However, only the aviation-related commitment gained a substantial number of new country signatories, whereas few new countries have joined the COP26 commitments on zero-emission vehicles and green shipping corridors since their launch in November 2021.

Breakthrough Agenda on Road Transport

  • Launched at COP26 with 33 signatories , all countries.
  • No new country signatories.

Clydebank Declaration for Green Shipping Corridors

  • Launched at COP26 with 22 signatories, all countries.
  • Grew to 24 signatories (Palau and Singapore). No update since April 2022.

Declaration on Accelerating the Transition to 100% Zero Emission Cars and Vans

  • Launched at COP26 with 178 signatories, of which 39 are countries.
  • Grew to 198 signatories.
  • Greece is the only new country signatories. New signatories are cities, states and regional governments; automotive manufacturers; fleet owners and operators of shared mobility platforms and other signatories.

Global Memorandum of Understanding on Zero-Emission Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles:

  • Launched at COP26 with 16 signatories, all countries.
  • No new signatories joined the initiative. Received 7 new endorsers to the ecosystem of the initiative.
  • Introduced a progress dashboard  to monitor the relevant policies by signatory countries.

International Aviation Climate Ambition Coalition*

  • Launched at COP26 with 25 signatories, all countries.
  • Grew to 39 signatories.
  • New signatories are Austria, Belize, Côte d’Ivoire, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Guinea, Madagascar, Mexico, Poland, Rwanda and Switzerland.
 Number of total signatories at COP26 in Nov. ‘21Number of total signatories as of Sept. ’22 Country signatories at COP26 in Nov. ‘21New country signatories as of 15 Sept ‘22Other observations
Breakthrough Agenda on Road Transport33 signatories33 signatories33 country signatoriesNo new country signatories. 
Clydebank Declaration for Green Shipping Corridors22 signatories24 signatories24 country signatoriesPalau and SingaporeNo update since April 2022
Declaration on Accelerating the Transition to 100% Zero Emission Cars and Vans178 signatories198 signatories39 country signatoriesGreece 
Global Memorandum of Understanding on Zero-Emission Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles16 signatories16 signatories16 country signatoriesNo new signatories. Received 7 new endorsers to the ecosystem of the initiative.Introduced a progress dashboard to monitor the relevant policies by signatory countries.
International Aviation Climate Ambition Coalition*25 signatories39 signatories25 country signatoriesAustria, Belize, Côte d’Ivoire, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Guinea, Madagascar, Mexico, Poland, Rwanda, Switzerland 

(* The International Aviation Climate Ambition Coalition grew to 59 signatories in October 2022, which is not reflected in this comparative analysis.)

Overall, the NDCs of signatory countries continue lacking explicit references to the transport commitments they signed to on the occasion of COP26

  • At the moment of launch, seven country signatories to these commitments had not submitted a second-generation NDC. Since then, three countries (Egypt, El Salvador and India) – which are signatories across the commitments launched on the occasion of COP26 – have submitted NDCs. These NDCs do not refer to the commitments.
  • Nevertheless, the NDCs of Egypt (signatory to the Breakthrough Agenda on Road Transport) and El Salvador (signatory to the Declaration on Accelerating the Transition to 100% Zero Emission Cars and Vans) provide a strong support mechanism for their signed commitments. India’s second-generation NDC, on the other hand, does not have any transport sector-specific targets and actions, and thus does not provide any kind of support to their signed commitments.

In general, there is still weak alignment between the NDCs of signatory countries and the transport commitments and initiatives launched on the occasion of COP26 that they signed to.

  • Only five (Burkina Faso, Egypt, Fiji, Israel, and Japan) of the 68 countries which signed up to at least one of the transport commitments include specific transport greenhouse gas (GHG) targets in their second-generation NDCs. Overall, out of all NDCs submitted as of 15 September 2022, there are a total of 23 countries whose NDC include transport GHG targets (SLOCAT Climate Strategies for Transport).
  • Only four (Fiji, the Marshall Islands, the United Kingdom and the United States of America) of the 24 country signatories of the Clyde Declaration for Green Shipping Corridors include in their NDCs mechanisms to support the delivery of maritime transport decarbonisation.
  • The strongest alignment is still observed in the case of the International Aviation Climate Ambition Coalition. Several NDCs of signatory countries express their intention to engage with ICAO or to tackle aviation emissions (in some cases, limited to domestic aviation emissions). The NDCs of new signatories (Austria, Czech Republic, Greece, Poland and the Republic of Korea) are also well aligned with the Ambition Coalition.
  • In general, there are weak connections between commitments and initiatives related to zero-emission vehicles and the second-generation NDCs of signatory countries. The disparities are however important: NDCs of new signatories to the Breakthrough Agenda on Road Transport range from no support to strong support to the Agenda.
  • As exceptions, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Canada and Chile state strong e-mobility ambitions in their NDCs, while the European Union emphasises its aims for a clean vehicle fleet.

Countries have not utilised the call by the COP26 Glasgow Pact to enhance their NDCs before COP27 as an opportunity to strengthen the content related to transport commitments they signed in November 2021.

  • Only five countries (Australia, Ghana, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom) that are signatories to transport commitments released on the occasion of COOP26 have revised their new NDC since COP26. Australia, the Republic of Korea and the United Kingdom have strengthened in their revised NDC the content related to the transport commitment.
  • Australia includes in its NDC references to the national electric vehicle plan; hence, ensuring a strong connection to the Breakthrough Agenda on Road Transport they are signatory to.
  • The Republic of Korea features in its NDC the aim for zero-emission aircraft fleets; hence, strengthening the linkage to the International Aviation Climate Ambition Coalition they are signatory to.
  • The United Kingdom’s revised version of their Updated NDC (September 2022) includes clear references to the Breakthrough Agenda on Road Transport and the Declaration on Accelerating the Transition to 100% Zero Emission Cars and Vans they are signatory to.

Important questions remain open, across all the transport commitments and initiatives that were launched on the occasion of COP26, including: 

  • What UNFCCC mechanisms contribute to monitoring and assessing the actual implementation of these commitments and initiatives and their impact on Paris Agreement goals s over time?

Non-legally binding commitments made in the parallel space to COP formal negotiations can be very relevant to encourage and enable ambitious multi-stakeholder action towards the implementation of the Paris Agreement – particularly in the ever growing context of geopolitical instability in which the UNFCCC and COPs processes operate. Establishing concrete monitoring, review and verification mechanisms would contribute to mitigating potential risks related to the long-term sustainability and impact, the scalability and the accountability of the transport commitments that were announced in November 2021 at COP26. It is strongly recommended that UNFCCC and COP processes enable mechanisms for: (i) enhanced alignment of these commitments through the NDCs of signatory countries; (ii) sustained enlargement to new signatories; and (iii) transparent implementation, monitoring, verification and review.

  • To what extent do these commitments signal long-term political ambition and determination to improve climate action in transport policy, if signatory countries are not (sufficiently) integrating them in their respective NDCs?
  • The transport commitments and initiatives launched on the occasion of COP26 focus on clean vehicles, aviation and shipping), while do not address the important solutions to many of the climate and sustainability challenges that public transport, walking, cycling and shared informal mobility provide. Will COP27 and future COPs enable the implementation of robust commitments towards a transformative change and integrated transport and mobility systems?