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Long Term Strategies key to delivering climate ambition

Net-Zero 2050
| 10.11.2022

This report presents the findings from the first comprehensive assessment of the 22 long-term strategies (LTSs) of EU Member States available as of March 2022. It is complemented by a briefing that summarises the key findings and recommendations.

The analysis looked at two distinct qualities of strategies: the vision of a low-emission future represented in the pathways and projections of the LTS as well as the preparation and use of the strategy as a tool to guide policy decisions, in other words its relevance in national climate policy.

In several EU Member States developing an LTSs has had a positive impact on national policy already. However, the assessment found that to varying degrees most LTSs lack information on their long-term vision and some LTSs are already outdated. Strategies with missing or out-of-date information cannot sufficiently guide near-term policymaking. In addition, most LTS preparation processes fall short on participation, and the strategies omit detail on follow-up. This risks generating lower political support and ultimately reduces the use of the strategies as a tool to guide policies and interim targets.

“True net zero emissions will not be arrived at by chance. Countries and regions need robust long-term decarbonisation strategies, with a clear articulation of the pathways needed in each sector, as a guide for near-term climate plans, policies and actions. The core finding is that national LTSs vary greatly in the information they provide, the quality of their preparations and in their integration into national policy-making.

If national Long-Term Strategies are to serve their purpose in providing a robust strategic context for the development of sufficiently ambitious NECPs for 2030, as well as the data required by the EU Commission to effectively monitor policy consistency for net zero under the EU Climate Law, this report is a ‘must read’ for policy officials at EU and national levels”.
Erica Hope, Director of the ECF Climate Planning and Laws Program

Policy recommendations to make LTSs more effective

The EU should amend the Governance Regulation by:

  1. Adding a mandatory template asking for more detail on the long-term vision (scenarios and targets) and on preparation and use of the document
  2. Adding mandatory regular updates slightly ahead of the NECP updates
  3. Requesting more effective participation (early, meaningful, iterative) during preparation

National governments should create national ownership of the long-term vision by:

  1. Engaging a wide variety of interests in strategy preparation and revision, drawing on the national multilevel climate dialogue.
  2. Including an independent peer review process using scientific expertise, such as existing national climate advisory bodies, during LTS preparation and follow-up
  3. Integrating a regular LTS review cycle in national policy-making
  4. Specifying a date for achieving climate neutrality at national level with quantitative info for remaining greenhouse gas emissions and necessary removals

The European Commission should take an active role by:

  • Providing additional technical support, e.g., capacity support, common modelling tools or parameters
  • Launching a forum for good practice experience sharing among Member States, and for encouraging integrated planning processes across borders
  • Enforcing compliance with the requirements for LTSs in the Governance Regulation including timely submission
  • Creating a bottom-up vision for climate neutrality in the EU using the national LTSs and integrating it into an update of the EU LTS