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Current commitments under the Paris Agreement are not sufficient to limit global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels; the UNEP Emissions Gap Report 2015 showed that a mitigation gap of 14 GtCO2e exists for 2030. Against this background international climate initiatives can play an important role for reducing global emissions. This study is a first attempt to quantify the potential impact of international initiatives in comparison to the INDCs. For Brazil, China, the European Union (EU), India, Indonesia, Japan, Russia, United States of America (USA) and the “Rest of World”, we compare the ambition level of 19 initiatives with those of the INDCs. The initiatives were selected based on their expected contributions, sectoral scope and other criteria. In total we sampled 174 initiatives but most did not publish sufficient information, have unclear goals or do not propose concrete actions and were therefore excluded.
Under the assumption that the 19 assessed initiatives will meet their targets we find that they could reduce global emissions by 5 - 11 GtCO2e in 2030 beyond the national targets by countries. In addition, these initiatives help governments in meeting their nationally determined contributions. The comparison of stringency shows that many initiatives have targets that are more ambitious than those of national governments. If the national governments would take all of the actions into account, they could be more ambitious in their national contributions. Out of the sampled initiatives those with active involvement of NGOs either as leader or member tend to lead to higher reductions and more co-benefits. Another common element of many successful initiatives is a permanent secretariat.