The 1 Gigaton Coalition convened by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the government of Norway, is the first-of-its-kind international effort to measure and report reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions resulting from renewable energy (RE) and energy efficient (EE) projects. Since 2015, the Coalition has released annual reports examining the GHG mitigation impact of RE and EE initiatives in developing countries. Data-Driven Yale has led the research, analysis, and writing efforts to produce the three reports published so far.

The inaugural 1 Gigaton Coalition report was released in 2015 at the Paris Climate Conference. This report aimed to quantify how RE and EE can help achieve the emissions reductions needed to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (2°C). Based on a database of 42 RE and EE projects in developing countries, the first report found that scaling the emissions reductions from this limited set of projects to all internationally supported RE and EE projects in developing countries could result in emission reductions on the order of 4 GtCO2 in 2020, compared to a no-policy baseline scenario. By comparison, the gap between the no-policy baseline and what is compatible with 2°C for energy use in developing countries is roughly 9 GtCO2. 

The second (2016) report expanded the database of internationally supported RE and EE projects in developing countries from 42 to 224. The 2016 report estimated that all internationally supported RE and EE projects would reduce emissions by up to 0.4 GtCO2 annually in 2020, and that if public finance goals for climate mitigation were met, supported projects could reduce emissions by 1 GtCO2 per year in 2020. 

The third annual 1 Gigaton Coalition report further expanded the database to 273 internationally supported projects in developing countries and estimated emissions reductions of approximately 0.36 GtCO2 annually in 2020. The 1 Gigaton Coalition’s work demonstrates to policymakers, financiers, and project implementers how RE and EE initiatives can help societies achieve global sustainable development goals while meeting international climate targets.