The Announced Pledges Scenario (APS), introduced in 2021, illustrates the extent to which announced ambitions and targets can deliver the emissions reductions needed to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. It includes all recent major national announcements as of the end of August 2023, both 2030 targets and longer-term net zero or carbon neutrality pledges, regardless of whether these announcements have been anchored in legislation or in updated Nationally Determined Contributions. In the APS, countries implement their national targets in full and on time. The outlook for exporters of fossil fuels and low-emissions fuels, such as hydrogen, is shaped by what full implementation of all targets means for global demand. The APS also assumes that all country-level targets for access to electricity and clean cooking are achieved on time and in full.

The way that these pledges are assumed to be implemented in the APS has important implications for the energy system. A net zero pledge for economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions does not necessarily mean that CO2 emissions from the energy sector need to reach net zero. For example, a country’s net zero plans may envisage that some remaining energy-related emissions are offset by the absorption of emissions from forestry or land use. It is not possible to know exactly how net zero pledges will be implemented, but the design of the APS, particularly with respect to the details of the energy system pathway, has been informed by the pathways that a number of national bodies have developed to support net zero pledges.

For countries that have not yet made a net zero pledge, policies are assumed to be the same as in the STEPS, though they benefit in the APS from the accelerated cost reductions and wider availability of clean energy technologies. Non-policy assumptions, including population and economic growth, are the same as in the STEPS. All net zero emissions pledges considered in the APS are included in the IEA Climate Pledges Explorer.