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Developing 2050 decarbonization strategies in the EU: Insights on good practice from national experiences

Studies N°03/2017. Iddri, 2017. 22 p.

There is increasing recognition that achieving deep cuts to GHG emissions requires a close link between long-term strategic planning and short-term policy action. Thus, Article 4.19 of the Paris Climate Agreement called on countries to develop long-term low GHG emissions development strategies, and to present them by 2020. To implement this requirement across all 28 EU countries, the EU is in the process of agreeing guidelines and minimum requirements.

This study highlights lessons that can be learned from recent experiences with 2050 decarbonization strategies in selected EU countries. It builds on these experiences to highlight some examples of good practice when it comes to long-term decarbonization strategy development. It also highlights implications of these experiences for the guidelines and requirements that are being drawn up by the EU.

KEY MESSAGES:

  • LONG-TERM (2050) DECARBONIZATION STRATEGIES ARE VITAL FOR RAISING AMBITION AND FOR EFFECTIVE CLIMATE POLICY IMPLEMENTATION

There is increasing recognition that achieving deep cuts to GHG emissions requires a close link between long term strategic planning and short term policy action. Long term decarbonization strategies are important at a technical level, because they can help countries to identify concrete and feasible pathways to decarbonization, based on their national particularities, and then to determine their implications for immediate policies and measures. They can also serve an important social and political function, by facilitating a concrete and analytically based discussion between national stakeholders about what long-term decarbonization implies.

  • THE EU’S DRAFT NEW ENERGY UNION GOVERNANCE REGULATION COULD DO MORE TO PROMOTE GOOD PRACTICE AND EFFECTIVE LONG-TERM PLANNING FOR DECARBONIZATION

Article 4.19 called on Parties to the Paris Agreement to develop long term low emissions development strategies, and decision 1/CP21 invites Parties to present them ahead of 2020. To implement this requirement across all 28 EU countries, the EU is in the process of agreeing minimum requirements and guidelines under a draft new governance regulation for the EU’s Energy Union project. Unfortunately, early drafts of this document contain too little detail on what these strategies should include, or how member states should go about developing them. This is a concern, not only for the quality of climate governance in the EU, but also in terms of the potentially negative signal the EU may send under the Paris process, if many of its member states are incapable of producing robust and credible 2050 decarbonization strategies.

  • DEVELOPERS OF LONG-TERM DECARBONIZATION STRATEGIES SHOULD HEED LESSONS FROM EXISTING EXPERIENCES

A small number of EU member states have already developed their own 2050 decarbonization strategies and plans. This study—which was jointly undertaken by IDDRI in France and Ecologic in Germany—highlights some important lessons that can be learned from recent experiences with 2050 decarbonization strategies in selected EU countries. It builds on experiences in a small group of EU member states to highlight some examples of good practice when it comes to long term decarbonization strategy development. If the EU and its member states wish to ensure that their climate policy governance is effective and consistent with the aims of the Paris Agreement, they may wish to explore the lessons of these experiences.