Mapping states’ Paris climate pledges: Analysing targets and groups at COP 21

Paul Tobin, Nicole Schmidt, Jale Tosun, Charlotte Burns

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Prior to the 2015 Paris Conference of the Parties (COP), every state was requested to submit a pledge of their own design. To date, there has been a lack of large-n studies that provide a broad picture of these pledges. We employ Discourse Network Analysis to examine critically the climate pledges of all 162 actors at the Paris COP. Our research offers four main contributions. First, we provide data regarding the mitigation and adaptation components of every national pledge. Second, we identify six types of mitigation targets, and visually cluster every state according to these formats. Third, we argue that the pledges of the Umbrella Group of non-EU developed states, and of the group of oil exporting countries, showed greater internal similarity than the group comprising Brazil, China, India and South Africa. Finally, we critique the method as a means of analysing the new global climate governance context and argue that the method offers an innovative and unique means of understanding this complex policy landscape, when applied in a specific and focused manner.
Original languageEnglish
Article number48C
Pages (from-to)11
Number of pages21
JournalGlobal Environmental Change
Early online date22 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • climate change
  • negotiating groups
  • COP 21
  • Discourse Network Analysis


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