New Climate Institute Report Explores Role of LTSs in Achieving Paris Agreement Goals
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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While progress is being made on most issues, ambitious NDCs still face challenges and will be hard to achieve without private sector commitment and support.

The report notes that climate action in agriculture can help achieve the SDGs.

As of the report’s publication, only 13 LTSs have been submitted to the UNFCCC.

The New Climate Institute has published an NDC Update Report focusing on the role of long-term low-emission development strategies (LTSs) in achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change. The Update tracks progress on implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), and underscores the importance of developing LTSs to determine the greatest possible ambition for the forthcoming NDC update period through 2030 and to signal a clear path for future NDC ambition raising towards net-zero emissions in 2050.

The report titled, ‘Long-term, Society-wide Visions for Immediate Action,’ builds on a survey undertaken by the Institute of 100 policymakers and experts involved in NDC planning and implementation, discussions with experts, research and analysis.

The report explains that while progress is being made on most issues, ambitious NDCs still face challenges and will be hard to achieve without private sector commitment and support. Regarding the next round of NDCs, the results show that over half the respondents were unable to provide clarity on whether their governments intend to raise ambition in 2020. On the timing of submissions, around 10% of respondents stated that their next NDC would be submitted in 2019, while almost 80% indicated they would submit in 2020. Respondents noted that costs and economic consequences were most relevant in national-level discussions, with less priority given to social and environmental benefits. On progress towards developing an LTS, more than half the respondents had not started the LTS process, with 13% expecting to start soon and 70% confirming that their LTS is or will be consistent with the Paris Agreement goals.

Communities of practice play a role in complementing conventional technical assistance in the energy sector, as well as in achieving the SDGs.

The report proposes eight elements for consideration in developing LTSs, namely:

  • paying attention to the LTS process more than the document itself;
  • including pathways for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions until 2050 and beyond;
  • including all sectors of the economy;
  • treating the process as an ongoing “visioning” exercise;
  • expecting extensive coordination efforts;
  • reflecting on immediate next steps;
  • clarifying how much financing and other support is required; and
  • identifying synergies and trade-offs with the SDGs and adaptation.

The report further notes that the pathways should reflect and be adjusted to the latest science and technological and societal developments to achieve highest possible ambition, and reflect financing and other support required and provided.

As of the report’s publication, only 13 LTSs have been submitted to the UNFCCC. Common elements include: stakeholder engagement and participatory processes; linking to or planning the elaboration of national plans and regulations; viewing LTSs as “living documents”; and discrepancies in the interpretation of Paris-aligned pathways.

The report looks at the development and implementation of LTSs from different perspectives, with seven organizations contributing to the discussions related to, inter alia: strengthening the link between NDCs and LTSs; focusing on a whole-of-government approach to LTSs; and transparency going hand-in-hand with inclusiveness and governance of the LTS process.

Regarding specific sectors, the report discusses, among others: the contributions of LTSs in defining Paris-aligned investments and assessing financial risks from adaptation; the utility of “communities of practice” in complementing conventional technical assistance in the energy sector, as well as in achieving the SDGs; and that LTSs should consider long-term interactions between agriculture, natural resources and sustainable development in light of the sector’s links with food security and nutrition, poverty alleviation and rural development. These sectoral visions, according to the report, aim to leverage synergies with the SDGs. For example, climate action in agriculture can help achieve the SDGs.

The report was published under the Ambition to Action 2019 project, part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI), with support from Germany’s Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU). The report’s release coincided with the opening of the 2019 UN Climate Change Conference in Madrid, Spain. [Publication: NDC Update Report: Long-term, Society-wide Visions for Immediate Action] [Executive Summary] [Report Landing Page]


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