This document contains three sections with information on the following for 25 selected countries:

•An overview of recent mitigation policies across all sectors

•An overview of COVID-19 response measures, with selected “green” and “grey” measures screened for climate impact

•A state of play on updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies (LTS)

The 25 countries and regions assessed in this document are: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Egypt, Ethiopia, the European Union (EU),1 India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the United States and Vietnam. These 25 countries and regions cover all of the G20 countries (excluding the three individual EU member states and the United Kingdom) and comprise about 79% and 78% of total global GHG emissions excluding LULUCF and including LULUCF respectively in 2018 (Crippa et al., 2019; FAO, 2020a).

This report includes over 60 mitigation policies that were adopted or under development between July 2019 and August 2020. Our analysis shows higher policy activity in the energy sector (25 entries), followed by the transport sector (12 entries), land use, land use change and forestry (eight), buildings (two), and agriculture (one). There were also 16 new cross-sectoral policies. This time no new policies were noted in the industry and waste sectors.

Most policy developments are expected to contribute to GHG emissions reductions; however, we have also identified explicit policies that could increase GHG emissions in at least four countries. These include the expansion of fossil fuel exploration in Colombia, a stimulus to palm oil biodiesel production in Indonesia, potential mining in protected area in Brazil, and several proposed rollbacks of legislations and regulations set under the previous administration in the United States.

The report also provides an overview of COVID-19 response measures implemented in the selectedcountries and regions and, where possible, identifies sustainable “green” measures and unsustainable “grey” measures. Our assessment indicates that, with exceptions of the EU and Republic of Korea, most countries have not dedicated large shares of their recovery explicitly to “green” measures.

Countries are expected to formulate or submit their updated NDCs and long-term developmentstrategies well in advance of COP26 in 2021. Of the 25 countries and regions assessed here, only Vietnam has officially revised its NDC target, whereas Japan resubmitted its original NDC target in March 2020. The European Commission has proposed a strengthened target for the EU to at least 55% emissions reduction below 1990 levels by 2030 (compared to at least 40% previously), but this target is yet to be approved (European Comission, 2020). In September 2020, Premier Xi Jinping signalled China’s intent at bringing forward its peaking year target for CO2 emissions, but it is still unclear whether this will be reflected in China’s next NDC.

The development of net zero emissions targets and strategies is gaining momentum. Among the 25 countries and regions assessed, three countries and regions have submitted their long-term strategieswith net-zero targets: the EU aims for net-zero GHG emissions by 2050, Japan aims to achieve a decarbonised society as early as possible in the second half of this century, and South Africa aims for net zero carbon emissions by 2050. In addition, China announced in September 2020 that it would aim for carbon neutrality by 2060. With China’s announcement, countries with similar net-zero announcements are responsible for more than half of global GHG emissions today (Climate Action Tracker, 2020a).

1 Our analysis refers to the EU-27, excluding the United Kingdom. The UK has left the EU but is in a transition period until the end of 2020, during which the NDC submitted by the EU still applies to it.


This Commentary is a Summary of the the full report that is available at  The full citation for the report is:

Moisio, M., van Soest, H., Forsell, N., Nascimento, L., de Vivero, G., Gonzales-Zuñiga, S., Hans, F., Lui, S., Schiefer, T., Mooldijk, S., Höhne, N., Batka, M., Dafnomilis, I., den Elzen, M., Kuramochi, T.(2020). Overview of recently adopted mitigation policies and climate-relevant policy responses to COVID-19: 2020 update. NewClimate Institute, PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.

PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency is the national institute for strategic policy analysis in the fields of the environment, nature and spatial planning.  We contribute to improving the quality of political and administrative decision-making by conducting outlook studies, analyses and evaluations in which an integrated approach is considered paramount. Policy relevance is the prime concern in all of our studies. We conduct solicited and unsolicited research that is independent and scientifically sound.




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