Pathways to Deep Decarbonization: 2015 Synthesis Report

The Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) is a global collaboration of energy research teams charting practical pathways to deeply reducing greenhouse gas emissions in their own countries. It is predicated on taking seriously what is needed to limit global warming to 2°C or less. The initial results of this collaboration are reflected in reports on deep decarbonization pathways for Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, United Kingdom and United States. In addition, the consortium developed a cross-cutting analyses, the 2015 synthesis report.

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About the DDPP

The Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) is a collaborative initiative to understand and show how individual countries can transition to a low-carbon economy and how the world can meet the internationally agreed target of limiting the increase in global mean surface temperature to less than 2 degrees Celsius (°C). Achieving the 2°C limit will require that global net emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) approach zero by the second half of the century. In turn, this will require a profound transformation of energy systems by mid-century through steep declines in carbon intensity in all sectors of the economy, a transition we call “deep decarbonization.”

The DDPP framework has been developed and utilized by a consortium led by The Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI) and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). In 2015 it consisted of scientific research teams from leading research institutions in sixteen of the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitting countries.

Research Approach


Limiting global warming to 2°C or less will require global emissions of greenhouse gases to be deeply reduced by 2050. This will require a profound transformation of how energy is supplied and used around the world. The DDPP is charting the path to this transformation, starting now, one country at a time.

Critically Needed

Deep decarbonization pathways fill a key gap in climate policy. Within countries, they provide a critical, missing long-term framework for informing and coordinating policy and business decisions. Internationally, they provide a transparent benchmark for evaluating national commitments.

Country Driven

DDPP research teams study decarbonization in their own countries. Each team defines its own pathways to a low carbon energy system that still provides all the energy services their society needs, taking into account current infrastructure, natural resources, and stage of socio-economic development.


The country research teams are building a new global knowledge base for decarbonization, transparently sharing results, data, and methods. The DDPP has developed a unique set of analytical tools for combining and comparing individual country pathways, allowing the global impact to be more clearly seen.

Solution Oriented

The DDPP identifies problems and finds solutions on the road to deep decarbonization. The pathways are rigorous, detailed, sector-by-sector descriptions of what deep decarbonization requires in each country over time, in terms of technologies, infrastructure, investment needs, and international support.

Game Changing

The DDPP is already changing the climate policy discussion both within countries and among them. By showing concretely how 2°C can be achieved and what the enabling conditions are, it is altering the focus from incremental change to transformation, and shining a bright new light on the benefits of cooperation.