Based on an analysis of about 180 international climate initiatives we analysed the potential impact of these initiatives on GHG emissions, shared elements of initiatives which have a high impact and the relationship between such initiatives and the UNFCCC. The study finds that Initiatives can play an important role in the transition to a low carbon economy. We estimate that 19 quantified initiatives have the potential to reduce emissions by approx. 6 11 GtCO2eq. compared to an INDC background in 2030. Corresponding global emissions would peak by 2020 and bring the world much closer to a 2°C compatible pathway. The comparison of stringency between national targets and climate initiatives shows that many initiatives have targets that go beyond those of national governments. If the national governments would take all of the actions into account they could be more ambitious in their national contributions.
We also find that active involvement of NGOs either as the leader of an initiative or members tends to lead to higher reductions and more co-benefits. Another common element of many successful initiatives is a permanent secretariat. Voluntary agreements are most suitable for short-term reductions but have a less important role for 2030 targets. Adequate reporting from initiatives would greatly enhance transparency, help replicate impacts, inform national governments and the UNFCCC process and facilitate access to funding for the initiatives themselves. A standardised reporting format could greatly enhance transparency.