Report: Assessment of the national Long-Term Strategies of the Baltic State countries
As amply demonstrated by each passing year, the decarbonisation of our economies is the key societal challenge of the 21st century. In response, each EU member state is required to adopt and regularly update a holistic decarbonisation strategy until 2050, known as a long-term strategy (LTS). This report seeks to analyse the respective documents for each of the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania), to assess their respective strengths and weaknesses, and highlight a series of cross-cutting issues and recommendations ahead of subsequent updates.
The obligation to develop plans for decarbonisation is formalised within the European Union by regulation 2018/19991 (Governance Regulation hereafter) of the European parliament and Council on 11th December 2018. Given the rather ambiguous and sparse guidance regarding content and format set out therein (Annex IV), a great deal of divergence between individual strategies is expected. Moreover, the respective Baltic strategies were published between 2017 and 2021, during which time the environment related to climate mitigation has continued to evolve, most recently with the European Green Deal and the ‘Fit for 55’ package of measures, as well as the energy policy response to the Russian war on Ukraine (REPowerEU).
The individual strategies do indeed differ in several aspects. Where they in fact scored somewhat similarly due to the adopted methodology despite these differences, it should not be seen as a contradiction. Rather, it is a reflection of the scoring being a vehicle for the qualitative discussion found in the report. For example, the strategies range in length from less than ten to more than 50 pages, with the structure of each being unique. This notwithstanding, it is interesting to note that the strategies did also show certain similarities. All three countries emphasised the role of research and development (R&D) to a greater or lesser extent, and each, behind the structural differences, covered similar areas and suffered from similar weaknesses in terms of relatively limited emphasis on pathway modelling or socioeconomic aspects.
As the countries are relatively small it is important to mention that so far, no attempts have been made to synthesise or integrate efforts across the region. This and the diverging interpretations of the requirements for the LTS further complicate the analysis. Furthermore, each strategy is missing several aspects. On the other hand, there is a silver lining in the requirement for strategies to be further updated, which affords the opportunity to help guide the process and seek best practices across all member states.
Walke, P., Tool, B., Peterson, K. (2022): Assessment of the national Long-Term Strategies of the Baltic State countries. Stockholm Environment Institute. Tallinn.
(Stockholm Environment Institute Tallinn)