Scoreboard Science and Data

A quick note:
Climate Interactive was one of the first teams to add up all the pledges countries were putting forward for the UN climate change negotiations initially around the Copenhagen climate talks in 2009 and the analysis played a historic role in the ensuing ten years of negotiations. During that time the addition of assessments like the UNEP Emissions Gap report, expanded efforts like the Climate Action Tracker, and many others, the need to offer another analysis of the gap between where policies are headed and what is needed has felt well covered. As a result, Climate Interactive has decided to invest our time in other endeavors. The Climate Scoreboard analysis below is no longer being updated and does not reflect the latest pledges countries have put forward. The C-ROADS simulation model that we used to create this analysis is still updated and available for your use. We encourage you to continue using C-ROADS with groups to interactively create your own scenarios for what is needed to address climate change.

Behind the UN Climate Pledge Analysis

The Climate Scoreboard analysis assesses how far the plans submitted to the UN will go to address climate change. These plans include the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), and Long-Term Strategies submitted by nations to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. This analysis is done with C-ROADS, a scientifically reviewed climate simulator that is designed to aggregate the proposals of countries and country groups to calculate long-term global climate impacts such as carbon dioxide concentration and temperature. C-ROADS was built by Climate InteractiveVentana Systems, and the MIT Sloan School of Management and is available to download for free.

National Climate Plans and Additional Scenarios


  • National Plans – 3.2°C(5.8°F) – No change after national contribution pledge period.
  • <2.0°C Path – 1.8°C (3.3°F) – All countries peak by 2030 and then reduce steadily, with rates in the post-2030 period faster in the developed countries (5%/yr) than in the developing countries (3.5%/yr).
  • 1.5°C Path – 1.5°C (2.8°F) – All developed countries peak by 2025 and then reduce steadily at 10%/yr; all developing countries peak no later than 2030 and then reduce steadily at 8%/yr.

Assumptions Behind the Scenarios:

In order to assess the cumulative impact of all the pledges and offer a projected temperature in 2100, we had to make some assumptions that are highlighted below. Many points are also explained in our FAQs.

  1. We only include Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), and Long-Term Strategies submitted to the UNFCCC that are unconditional.
  2. For the “National Plan” scenario, which is the one displayed on the Scoreboard, we assume no continued reductions by developed countries and no further action from developing countries beyond the timeframe of their plans. Specifically, there are four primary types of pledges, and we make the following assumptions for them:
    • Absolute reductions – For countries that are making absolute emissions reductions, we assume that emissions stay constant after 2025-2030 (the end of the pledge period), unless an NDC states otherwise. For example, Australia has offered to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions 26% below 2005 levels by 2030. After that, given there is no formal post-2030 pledge, we assume that Australia’s emissions do not increase nor continue to decrease, but stay constant at that new level.
    • Relative to a reference scenario – For countries that are reducing emissions from a reference scenario or business as usual (BAU) level, we assume they stay at the target level below the reference scenario after the pledge period. For example, Kenya has pledged to reduce their emissions 30% below their BAU by 2030. After 2030, we assumed that the emissions would continue to stay 30% below their Reference Scenario. Since the Reference Scenario is increasing, however, emissions increase at the same rate as the Reference Scenario.
    • Peaking – Emissions grow until year target peak year. For example, China has said they will peak their CO2 emissions by 2030. We assumed that the rate of growth in emissions would slow starting in 2015, approaching a flat trajectory gradually. After the peaking date, emissions would stay level. (Note: other greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase given they were not covered by China’s pledge).
    • Emissions intensity reduction – Change in emissions relative to the GDP of the country. For example, India reducing emissions intensity 40% (we took the low end of the pledge, which was 35-40%) by 2030. Up to 2030, we calculate emissions by using the GDP growth. After 2030, emissions intensity stays 40% below the growing GDP.
  3. In the <2°C and 1.5°C scenarios, we assume continued action and reductions after the period when the current NDCs end.
  4. The regional distribution of emissions reductions in the <2°C and 1.5°C scenarios is one representation of many possible approaches. We assume that developed countries move faster than developing countries.
  5. We assume that proposals will be fully implemented, in accordance with the dates specified in the plans.
  6. Some countries have made proposals for specific actions (rather than for emissions targets). If we don’t have a good estimate for the impact of those actions on emissions then we don’t include the action in our analysis.
  7. We assume emission reductions cover all greenhouse gas emissions unless specified otherwise. In some cases for smaller countries, the structure of the model requires us to assume that they take proportional action on other greenhouse gases.

Assumptions inherent inC-ROADS:

  1. The C-ROADS reference scenario (also called “business as usual”) accounts for the UN’s medium fertility population projections, historical GDP per capita rates that converge over time to be consistent with other integrated assessment models, and GHG per capita projections for each gas that reflect trends over the last decade for CO2 and follow the IPCC’s RCP8.5 for the non-CO2 greenhouse gases.
  2. C-ROADS uses a climate sensitivity of 3 (that is 3°C of temperature increase for a doubling of CO2 concentration.)
  3. There are positive feedback loops in the real climate system that are not modeled in the current version of C-ROADS.
  4. C-ROADS allows inputs of emissions reductions targets for 12 countries (U.S., Japan, Russia, Canada, Australia, South Korea, China, India, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Indonesia) and three blocs of countries (EU, “other developed” and “other developing”). For the 12 countries with individual controls, we adjust that country’s modeled emissions from a reference scenario (based on the IPCCs RCP 8.5 scenario).
  5. NDCs accounted for in “other developed” or “other developing” were calculated in accordance with that country’s percentage of emissions from the entire group. In other words, each nation’s proposals are scaled to their actual share of emissions within their bloc.
  6. For more information on C-ROADS, please consult the peer-reviewed journal article or C-ROADS Technical Reference.

Credits and Contact Information

The Climate Scoreboard and associated images are copyright 2020 by Climate Interactive, but you are welcome to use and share the unaltered Scoreboard image and data.

The Scoreboard graphic and video were designed by the staff of Climate Interactive and Dr. John Sterman. Scoreboard video by Klein Digital.

Inquiries, contact info [at]

Resources on the tools behind the Climate Scoreboard analysis:

We are fortunate to have many colleagues in the field of adding up climate mitigation proposals to assess their sufficiency, aggregate their contributions, and see what more is needed. Explore other climate trackers.