Department or Program

Environmental Studies


The 2015 Paris Climate Accord allows each party to self-determine greenhouse gas mitigation targets as a contribution to the overall goal of keeping global temperature rise well below 2˚C above preindustrial levels. To better understand the factors that influence these mitigation targets – called Nationally Determined Contributions – I model them as a function of seven characteristics of the political economy: democracy level; oil, coal and natural gas rents; GDP; total greenhouse gas emissions; external debt stocks; net official development assistance and official aid received; and number of persons with access to electricity. I show that total greenhouse gas emissions is the most important determinant of pledged emission reductions. Variables that indicate higher levels of economic development generally correlate with higher NDCs. I also discern trends amongst the regressors along the lines of NDC type – whether the NDC is conditional or unconditional on external support, and whether it presupposes a business as usual scenario or figures emission reductions relative to a base year. Among other findings, I show that democracy level is only an important determinant for NDCs submitted unconditional on external support.

Level of Access

Restricted: Campus/Bates Community Only Access

First Advisor

John Smedley

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Components of Thesis

1 pdf file


Available to Bates community via local IP address or Bates login.