This case study gleans lessons on the development of the French national low-carbon strategy. It details the process of developing the French plan for achieving a low-carbon economy by 2050.

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The production of a long-term strategy certainly depends on the specific situation of each country, but we can at least identify features that, in the French case, have proved essential to creating the necessary momentum:

1. The value of exploring contrasting pathways, acknowledging that the transition is a matter of political choices, even if the options are obviously constrained by technological, economic, and social characteristics.

2. The value of having such pathways proposed by stakeholders, reflecting their knowledge, concerns, motivations, and interests.

3. The need to offer a transparent framework to collectively compare and evaluate the different options.

4. The need to recognize that bottom-up, consensual measures alone will not build a consistent and sufficiently ambitious program, and that strong political leadership is needed to deliver more adequate strategies.

5. The need to complement the normative, long-term vision with a consistent, forward-looking, policy-oriented set of recommendations for public action.

6. The value of presenting explicit, sector-based visions of the transition to feed the discussion of policy options and specifically to identify the needs for new financial approaches, providing adequate investment capacity and risk mitigation to decision makers public and private, large and small.

7. The recognition that the uncertainty about future options, on the one hand, and about the actual delivery of measures, on the other, requires a regular assessment of the strategy and possible adjustments of the policy package.