LTS in Europe: Experience from National and EU-Wide 2050 Climate Planning

Case Summary: 

The European Union has defined a new system of governance after the Paris Agreement, requiring all Member States to produce national long-term strategies (LTS) by January 1, 2020, and commits the European Commission (EC) to draft a long-term strategy for the Union as a whole. Around half of the EU Member States have already developed national LTS' over the past decade, which vary greatly among each other. This case study presents some context for the current state of play in and insights in the European Union on long-term climate strategies. The study looks both at the long-term climate planning for the Union as well as on the national level, shedding light on the need for alignment integration among Member States and between the national and the EU level.

The development of EU’s LTS is a good practice because with the passage of the “Regulation for the Governance of the Energy Union and Climate Action” (commonly referred to as the Governance Regulation), the EU clearly sets out the its post-Paris climate and energy governance framework. The Governance Regulation contains a dedicated section on long-term, which mandates the creation of such strategies both for the European Union and its Member States. In addition, the European Commission presented a proposal for a long-term strategy for the European Union in 2018, which spells out a narrative of technical feasibility and economic affordability of a net-zero future for Europe. The proposal also identifies several strategic priorities for action by the European Union in order to realize a net-zero emissions economy. However, problems also exist. For example, there is little guidance for the development of national LTS', and no dedicated process for alignment between them foreseen in the legislation. Also, there is no explicit consideration of the potential need to integrate the national and the EU-level strategies.

Key findings:

  • 2050 planning is receiving a high degree of political attention in the European Union.
  • Common planning across borders may reveal more effective and efficient options than uncoordinated and purely national perspective.
  • 12 out of the 28 Member States had officially published long-term climate strategies with a perspective of 2050.
  • A growing number of EU Member States are putting in place overarching climate laws to establish governance frameworks for their long-term climate goals.
Europe and Central Asia
Action Area 
Planning and Implementation Activity 
Developing Strategies and Plans, Analysis and Data Collection, Developing and Implementing Policies and Measures, Governance and Stakeholder Engagement, Sub-national Action and Integration, Long-Term Strategies
Sectors and Themes 
Agriculture, Disaster Risk Reduction, Education, Gender, Health, Poverty, Transport, Water
Barriers overcome 
Institutional, Political
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), World Resources Institute (WRI)
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