Positive visions: experience with long-term climate strategies
This workshop provided a forum for a brief stocktake of the existing experience in drawing up and using national LEDS/LTSs and discussed specific ways in which the G20 could support their use. It was co-organised by Think20 - official engagement group of the G20 for think tanks and research institutes - and Ecologic Institute as coordinator for the Climate Recon 2050 project.
Effective action against the climate crisis requires transformative policies in the coming years to guide developments over the next 2-3 decades. Most government administrations are not well equipped to devise policies towards a specific goal multiple electoral cycles into the future – even less so, if the policies demand changes by many economic and social actors, and a reorientation of investment flows. There are several governance tools that can support governments in managing this challenge, of which long-term climate strategies (LTSs) or low-emission development strategies (LEDS) are an important one. They can inform policies and interim target setting (e.g., NDCs) such that these are aligned with a path towards long-term objectives. The Paris Agreement calls on all Parties to develop such strategies (Article 4.19). The Glasgow Climate Pact stressed the importance of LEDS/LTSs, requesting that all Parties to the Paris Agreement submit such strategies by COP27 in 2022 (FCCC/PA/CMA/2021/10/Add.1). A synthesis report with an overview of the development of LTSs around the world is also expected by then. 2022 has thus arguably an international focus on the state of long-term strategies as tool for the Paris Agreement objectives.
However, dialogue and exchange on the experience in developing and then implementing such challenges is only starting to emerge, as the issue is being taken up at the UNFCCC level – and has not yet been a focus of discussion among the G20. The only existing international forum for such exchange (2050 Pathways Platform) could use further support and elevation to help serve more countries to develop effective LTS/LEDS. At the start of 2022, 14 countries among the G20 have developed LTSs (among which all G7).
The workshop began with an input from Siddharth Pathak, 2050 Pathways Platform. The presentation (slides available below) explained the role of LTS in the UNFCCC framework. Siddharth Pathak outlined the main activities that require support at different stages of LTS development, from foundational work to policy, regulatory and institutional actions required to enable effective implementation. The presentation provided insights on LTS status in different regions of the world and discussed the existing ecosystem of support for LTS provided in the context of development cooperation, by development banks or via dedicated international initiatives.
Marta Torres Gunfaus of the Deep Decarbonisation Pathways, IDDRI, provided insights from a study "A country-driven perspective on long-term low-emission development strategies", highlighting the study's finding on the domestic benefits of LTS, from the possibility to provide strategic perspective on national public policy, providing sectoral roadmaps and identifying opportunities for economy-wide interplays to creating and sustaining and inclusive dialogue between different stakeholders to create a shared vision for the transition. The presentation highlighted key LTS characteristics, related to the content as well as the process of development, that can be used to as criteria necessary for an effective LTS. Finally, Marta Torres Gunfaus shared insights from the group's study "Long-term strategies for decarbonization in Latin America: Learnings from actor-based insights into the drafting process" that analysed the extent to which LTS are actually effective in shaping domestic policy and identified key challenges that need to be overcome in the process of designing and implementing an effective LTS.
The ensuing discussion focused on the role the G20 could play to support the development and use of LTS among members and in other countries. With the use of LTS, G20 countries can lead the charge on global climate action, but an important challenge that needs to be overcome is that of trust and the dwindling authority of G20 members as climate leaders. The discussants highlighted the potential of cooperation on technology and modelling and the need for global cooperation to institutionalise climate governance. G20 could create fora to discuss progress on LTS and include LTS in existing initiatives such as on financial cooperation.