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“Nationally Determined Contributions” at COP26: what you need to know

COP26 is officially underway, and the spotlight is on national leaders as they kick off two days of meetings as part of the World Leaders Summit segment of the COP26 agenda.


This segment will consist largely of statements from world leaders on their respective plans for emissions reductions and contributions to the global effort to combat climate change.

For Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to speak on Monday, November 1st at 2:10PM. You can watch live at this link.

With the Prime Minister and other world leaders set to speak today and tomorrow, there’s a term that you may soon start hearing and reading in the news: “Nationally Determined Contribution” or “NDC”.

Here’s what you need to know about NDCs.

What does NDC mean?

NDCs or ‘Nationally Determined Contributions’ are the central piece of what made the Paris Agreement so significant.

Simply put, NDCs are each country’s plans for how they will contribute to the global effort against climate change. The Paris Agreement requires the signatories to prepare, communicate and maintain NDCs and submit them to the United Nations every five years (starting in 2020).

Within the NDCs, countries outline their targets for emissions reductions and the key actions that they will be taking to achieve these targets.

You can read all about the Paris Agreement and NDCs here.

What’s in Canada’s NDC?

As our Prime Minister addresses the world today on Canada’s plans to contribute to the global fight against climate change, here are some key parts of Canada’s plan that you should know:

Canada’s NDC commits to reducing carbon emissions in the country by 40 – 45% below 2005 levels by the year 2030.

  • Previously, Canada had committed to a 30% reduction by 2030 but a new NDC submitted this year increased the target.

Actions cited within the NDC and committed to by the Government of Canada to reach these emissions reductions include:

  • Ending the sale of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles by 2035.

  • Creation of a carbon-free electricity grid by 2035. (Note: Look no further than Ontario and it’s more than 90% emissions-free grid, relying on 60% of that power from nuclear generation, for a model on how to achieve this).

  • Capping emissions from the oil and gas sector by 2025.

You can read Canada’s full Nationally Determined Contribution here.


Chad Richards is the Director of the Net Zero Partnerships program.


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