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Taking stock of the implementation gap in climate policy

A gap persists between the emissions reductions pledged by countries under the Paris Agreement and those resulting from their domestic policies. We argue that this gap in fact contains two parts: one in the policies that countries adopt, and the other in the outcomes that those policies achieve.

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Fig. 1: The implementation gap and its contributing factors.
Fig. 2: The policy adoption gap (2014–2019) and pledge ambition ranking for select parties to the Paris Agreement.
Fig. 3: Strength of domestic climate policy (2018–2022) versus climate-related outcomes (2023).

Data availability

Data for Figs. 2 and 3 are available in the Supplementary Data.


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We acknowledge funding from the Swiss Network for International Studies. J.M. acknowledges funding from the National Science Foundation (grant no. 2224086). T.S.S. acknowledges funding from the Swiss National Science Foundation. T.F. acknowledges financial support from the Link Energy Foundation.

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Authors and Affiliations



Conceptualization: J.M. and T.F.; formal analysis: T.F.; visualization: T.F. and A.S.; writing (original draft): T.F., J.M. and A.S.; writing (reviewing and editing): T.F., J.M., A.S., T.S., F.E., N.S. and C.B.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jonas Meckling.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Data

Data for Figs. 2 and 3.

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Fransen, T., Meckling, J., Stünzi, A. et al. Taking stock of the implementation gap in climate policy. Nat. Clim. Chang. 13, 752–755 (2023).

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