The EU’s first package of climate and energy measures was agreed in 2008 and set targets for 2020  These were:
reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20% (compared to 1990)
increasing the share of renewable energy to 20%
making a 20% improvement in energy efficiency
To cut emissions from energy-intensive industries and power plants, the EU developed the EU emissions trading system (ETS). The EU also set emissions targets for the buildings, transport and agriculture sectors. By 2018, greenhouse gas emissions had been reduced by 23%. 
A more ambitious set of targets for the period 2021-2030 was set in 2014. These 2030 targets committed the EU to cutting its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030, compared to 1990. 
The 2014 framework also stated the need for national climate and energy plans and long-term strategies. 
The European Commission set out its strategy in November 2018, looking at all the key sectors – from power sector to industry, mobility, buildings, agriculture and forestry – and exploring pathways for the transition. 
EU Net zero strategy
In December 2019, EU leaders endorsed the objective of achieving a climate-neutral EU by 2050. 
On 4 March 2020, the Commission proposed the first European Climate Law as part of the European Green Deal, enshrining the 2050 net zero target into law. EU environment ministers reached agreement on a general approach on the proposal for a European climate law, including a new EU greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 
In December 2020, EU leaders agreed that 30% of the total expenditure from the EU’s budget for 2021-2027 and Next Generation EU would target climate-related projects. Expenses under both budgets will comply with the EU’s objective of climate neutrality by 2050, the EU’s 2030 climate targets and the Paris Agreement.
EU environment ministers adopted the EU’s long-term climate strategy in March 2020. 
The EU submitted its long-term strategy to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in March 2020. 
In December 2020, in the European Council endorsed a binding EU target for a net domestic reduction of at least 55% in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990. 
The EU strategy is to invest into realistic technological solutions, aligning action in key areas such as industrial policy, finance and research, while ensuring social fairness for a just transition. The European Parliament endorsed the net-zero objective by 2050 in in March 2019 and resolution on the European Green Deal in January 2020. The European Council endorsed in December 2019 the net-zero objective by 2050, in line with the Paris Agreement. The EU submitted its long-term strategy to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in March 2020.
In March 2020, the EU submitted an ambitious strategy in 2020 to the UNFCCC as requested under the Paris Agreement. 
The main points of a transition to a climate neutral Europe are: 
Accelerate the clean energy transition, ramping up renewable energy production, high energy-efficiency and improved security of supply
Strengthen the central role of citizens and consumers in the energy transition
Roll out carbon-free, road-transport mobility; shifts towards rail and waterborne transport; restructure transport charges and taxes to reflect infrastructure and external costs; tackle aviation and shipping emissions using advanced technologies and fuels; invest in modern mobility infrastructure and recognise the role of better urban planning;
Boost research and innovation towards a digitalised and circular economy; test breakthrough technologies; monitor implications for energy intensive industries; attract low carbon industries
Promote sustainable bio-economy, diversify agriculture, animal farming, aquaculture and forestry production, preserve and restore ecosystems
Strengthen infrastructure. Adapt through smart digital and cyber-secure solutions to the future needs of electricity, gas, heating and other grids
Mobilise sustainable finance and support from long-term venture capital; invest in green infrastructure and minimise stranded assets
Equip current and future generations with education and training in the necessary skills
Align policies, such as competition, labour market, skills, taxation with climate action and energy policy
Ensure transition is socially fair
Continue EU’s efforts to bring all major and emerging economies on board
Anticipate and prepare for geopolitical shifts, including migratory pressure, and strengthen bilateral and multilateral partnerships,
EU Member State national strategies
EU Member States are required to develop national long-term strategies on how they plan to achieve the greenhouse gas emissions reductions needed to meet their commitments under the Paris Agreement and EU objectives. Ref 1
At end of 2018, Member States submitted to the European Commission, their draft National Climate and Energy Plans. 
In March 2020, the EU urged all parties to the Paris Agreement to communicate by 2020 their mid-century long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies to the secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). 
The direction of travel for the EU as a whole is sketched out in a communication document from the Commission in 2018 (Ref 4). This made it clear that starting to plan early towards a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions will allow Member States to tailor the pathway to their specific national circumstances, resource endowments, industries and consumer preferences. 
According to the communication document, the Member States’ pathways to net zero are difficult, but feasible from technological, economic, environmental and social perspective. Reaching this objective requires deep societal and economic transformations within a generation. 
National long-term strategies
All countries have an invitation to prepare mid-century ‘long-term low GHG emissions development strategies’ (LTS). Many countries are expected to present their long-term strategies in 2020 in line with this invitation. 
Long-term strategies provide a pathway to a whole-of-society transformation and a link between shorter-term nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and the long-term objectives of the Paris Agreement. LTS have a 30-year time horizon, and therefore can include wider issues such as supporting just and equitable transitions, promoting technological innovation, planning for new sustainable infrastructure to mitigate future climate risks and sending early signals to investors about long-term societal changes.
Following Covid-19, national governments are focusing on immediate economic stimulus, creating new jobs and securing household income. At the same time, national governments are also considering their medium- and long-term recovery needs. This is where the economy recovery and long-term strategies intersect. Both can focus on building long-term sustainable infrastructure, creating jobs, building resilience to future shocks and taking a lead in clean industries.
The process of an LTS development can help countries to facilitate the dialogue among stakeholders on how to initiate and translate ambitious transitions into action, considering country-specific circumstances. The LTS development process thus helps to develop a common long-term vision that integrally addresses environmental, economic and just transition aspects. 
The Paris Agreement did not provide guidance on the elements of long-term strategies, only vague guidelines on LTS development. 
Article §4 of the Paris Agreement calls on Parties “to formulate and communicate long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies” (LTSs), mindful of the temperature goals, and submit these to the UNFCCC. Few Parties had developed LTSs as of May 2020 and there remains a lack of common understanding on what the scope and format of an LTS should be, reflecting the vague nature of UNFCCC documents, stemming from the recognition of individual Parties’ self-determination and the need for flexibility. Out of 86 respondents for governments worldwide in November 2019, the latest available survey in the NDC Update Report found that 52% of respondents’ countries are in the process of developing an LTS or start planning processes soon. 48% of respondents’ countries either have no intention of developing an LTS or face uncertainty regarding when to start such process. 
However, there are several common themes to be looked for in a LTS: 
A Long-term Vision For Climate and Development
A Long-term mitigation goal
Adaptation and Resilience
Pathways and Interim MilestonesMonitoring and Revision
A long-term vision sets out the ambition and objectives for the long-term strategy. It creates a new narrative for a country that brings climate and development agendas together, maximizing the benefits of climate action and other societal goals.
The vision should include:
▪ A long-term mitigation goal. ▪ A long-term outcome for climate adaptation and resilience. ▪ Sustainable, inclusive development goals, such as ensuring a just transition for workers, creating decent work and quality jobs and reducing poverty and inequality. ▪ Goals for human well-being. ▪ Goals for environmental well-being, such as protecting biodiversity and ecosystems.
The goal should be expressed as clear and quantified long-term emissions reduction target, including information on:
The base year.
The target year.
Coverage of sectors and gases.
Intended peaking year and peaking emissions level implied by the trajectory.
Assumptions and methodological approaches, including estimating and accounting for anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and, as appropriate, removals.
The goal should include modeling that underpins the mitigation goal, including information on the methodology used to project the baseline scenario, including the projection method (e.g., name and type of models).
The goal should specify the cut-off year for policies included in the baseline scenario and any significant policies excluded from the baseline scenario. This should include the emissions drivers included and assumptions and data sources for key drivers. Assumptions about negative emissions.
A description of qualitative approaches used to develop the mitigation vision. ▪ Qualitative and quantitative sectoral mitigation goals. ▪ A description of how the long-term strategy is aligned with the Paris Agreement’s temperature goals. ▪ References to existing climate policy documents or decisions (e.g. EU Council Conclusions).
Goals to enhance adaptive capacity, strengthen resilience and reduce vulnerability.
Assessment of the impacts of future climate changes on long-lived infrastructure, biodiversity, land use and ecosystem services.
Description of environmental, social, human and economic risks from inaction.
Identification of vulnerable groups and sectors.
Links to national adaptation plan – Consideration of the synergies between mitigation and adaptation responses.
Co-benefits of mitigation actions for adaptation and resilience, and vice versa.
Consideration of how to strengthen the resilience of mitigation actions in the longterm strategy.
Explicit treatment of the uncertainty associated with future climate risks.
Links to a social development agenda and efforts to reduce poverty
A pathway defines how a country intends to arrive at the long-term vision and goals put forward in its long-term strategy. Multiple pathways are typically available to achieve a given long-term goal. For example, to reach net-zero emissions in the energy sector, different pathways might rely on different combinations of zero-carbon fuels, energy efficiency and carbon removal. A pathway specifies how each of these factors will evolve from now until mid-century. Interim milestones are metrics and indicators related to key features of the pathway(s) in select years between now and mid-century — for example, the intended share of renewable energy in 2030. These milestones should ideally also inform future NDCs. Pathways and interim milestones can be for specific sectors and the economy overall. These pathways and milestones are relevant for all countries, but some countries might choose to include these details in separate implementation plans instead of the long-term strategy. Likewise, emphasis on particular sectors may vary across countries depending on each sector’s relative importance in the country.
Look out for Pathways and interim milestones in some combination of the long-term strategy and a separate implementation plan.
▪ Pathways and interim milestones that cover at least the country’s most important sectors.
Interim milestones that cover 2030, or at least the target year of the country’s next NDC.
▪ Interim milestones that are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timebound).
Given the long-term nature of the strategy, and the uncertainty related to long-term planning and technology pathways, periodically reviewing and revising the strategy is essential to ensure that it reflects the latest science, innovation, capacity, scientific understanding and priorities. Modeling assumptions can also change in the space of a few years (e.g., based on new information and costs of new technologies). Data availability may increase, and modeling techniques may improve, which could uncover untapped areas of mitigation potential. In addition, the review process can offer an opportunity for governments to bring together all relevant stakeholders, allowing them to consult and contribute to designing more ambitious climate actions. It is beneficial to lay out clear monitoring plans and revision processes from the start.
Progress should undergo evaluation regularly, using a consistent approach. The review and revision process can also provide additional opportunities to engage stakeholders and accelerate support for climate action.
Look for: Objectives or principles guiding the review, with a description of which elements are under review. ▪ Ministries or agencies responsible for the review process. ▪ Frequency of review. ▪ Methods for review. ▪ Resources required for the review and revision process, and where those resources are committed. ▪ Alignment of the review process with other domestic or international processes, including the NDC.
A monitoring plan, including details on: ▪Data or indicators to track over time, as well as sources of data. ▪Monitoring duration and frequency. ▪ Measurement or data collection methods (e.g., surveys, censuses). ▪ Institutional roles, including the institutions responsible for collecting and compiling data relevant to the implementation of the long-term strategy
Transparent Communication Transparent communication means unambiguously conveying and clearly understanding the scope and elements of the long-term strategy. A transparent, comprehensible and compelling narrative — which resonates with the priorities and values of a broad range of stakeholders — can help build support for the strategy. Transparency can yield many benefits, including guiding domestic decisionmaking, promoting understanding of the objective and rationale, providing context and promoting understanding of national circumstances, sharing needs and facilitating the assessment of global emissions trajectories.
What to look for
A clear description of the long-term vision, objectives and goals. ▪ Details on assumptions and methodologies underpinning the strategy. ▪ Details on opportunities and trade-offs associated with the long-term transition. ▪ Support required for further revision and updates on long-term strategies. ▪ A description of how the long-term strategy relates to the NDC and/or other domestic policies and laws. ▪ Implementation strategies, including interim milestones and targets.
▪ Monitoring, review and revision processes. ▪ Any other information relevant to the national priorities.
Long-term strategies should ideally develop through processes that generate broad ownership among stakeholders, address impacts on affected communities, coordinate key actors and enable the development of institutional arrangements, laws, policies or regulations that address climate change. It is important to incorporate all relevant views and ensure sufficient government and societal support to sustain strategy implementation. The processes can be entirely new in some cases, although it may be more efficient to build on and align with existing planning processes such as enhancing NDCs. The process to develop a long-term strategy may involve several steps, including securing a political decision to initiate the process, defining the objectives of the strategy, designing the elements of the strategy, collecting inputs, communicating the strategy transparently and establishing review and revision processes.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR: ▪ An entity responsible for leading long-term strategy development. ▪ Entities participating in the development of the long-term strategy (e.g., government entities, businesses, civil society, labor unions and industry groups). ▪ Laws, decrees, mandates or political climate established to guide long-term strategy development and implementation. ▪ Data, plans, policies and models used to shape the vision and content of the long-term strategy.
Aligning LTS with Nationally determined contributions (NDCs)
Nationally determined contributions (NDCs)
The Paris Agreement in 2015 required countries to put forward initial climate plans known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs). They were not ambitious enough to avoid crossing over dangerous temperature thresholds. The Agreement also called for countries to update or enhance their NDCs every five years, including in 2020.  NDCs can therefore be considered short term climate targets.
By December 2020, five years after the adoption of the Paris Agreement, 22 countries had submitted enhanced NDCs to the UN. By the end of 2020, the UN estimated that 50 NDCs had been officially submitted in total. However, that will only be about one-fourth of the countries that adopted the Paris Agreement.
At a virtual climate summit held to mark the fifth anniversary, the EU announced it would cut emissions at least 55% from 1990 levels by 2030, a significant increase from its target of 40%. The UK pledged to cut emissions at least 68% by 2030 below 1990 levels as part of its national climate plan.
Among the developed countries (LDCs), Cambodia and Niger announced more ambitious 2030 targets, and Zimbabwe noted its long-term strategy would result in deep reductions. Ref 8. By early next year, about 20 LDCs will have submitted new national climate commitments. Argentina committed to net-zero emissions by 2050 and will set a 2030 GHG target almost 26% lower than its previous NDC. Colombia reaffirmed its recent commitment to reduce emissions 51% by 2030, a big increase over its previous goal of 20%. Costa Rica announced a new 2030 emissions cap in line with its 2050 net-zero target, Peru strengthened its 2030 target, Chile noted its earlier submission of an enhanced NDC and Uruguay said it would revise and increase its target. Pakistan announced that 60% of the country’s energy would come from renewables and 30% of its vehicles would be electric. Pakistan also made a commitment not to pursue new coal power plants. India affirmed its target of 450 GW of renewable capacity by 2030, but stopped short of announcing plans for a new NDC.
China announced it will lower carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by 65% from 2005 levels by 2030, increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 25% by 2030, increase forest stock by 6 billion cubic meters above 2005 levels, and bring the total installed capacity of wind and solar power to more than 1,200 GW by 2030. China did not confirm when its emissions will peak, other than ‘before 2030’.
Brazil set a weak 2030 emissions-reduction target. Brazil also unveiled an indicative objective to reach climate neutrality by 2060, but suggested that reaching it may be contingent on developed countries transferring $10 billion a year to Brazil for its decarbonization efforts.
Canada said it will strive for 32-40% emissions reduction below 2005 levels by 2030, but has not aligned its NDC with net-zero. South Korea and Japan have made net-zero commitments by 2050,but provided no specific plans to submit enhanced NDCs. Australia, Indonesia and Mexico made no new commitments and did not speak at the Summit.
Like NDCs, countries’ long-term strategies should not be considered a one-time submission, but rather an ongoing exercise in creating a vision for the future of a low emissions economy and informed by the latest science as part of continuous planning process in a country over time. An LTS also needs to align with policy implementation and planning at the sectoral level. Ref 7
Countries can use future LTS revisions to update their vision based on the latest scientific evidence on climate change, an evolving understanding of mitigation and adaptation needs, and technological innovations and developments for low-carbon solutions. The five-year revision cycles for the submission of NDCs to the UNFCCC provides an opportunity to improve the alignment of countries’ LTS with their medium-term targets (NDCs). This way, policy makers can ensure that a country’s long-term vision informs the NDC target setting for the medium-term. Without ensuring such consistency, LTSs run the risk of not being adequately mainstreamed into policy and implementation planning. 
REGIONAL AND MUNICPAL STRATEGIES
An increasing number of regions, municipalities and business associations are drawing up their own vision for 2050, which will enrich the debate and contribute to defining Europe’s answer to the global challenge of climate change. 
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, published the London Environment Strategy in May 2018 setting out a range of environmental actions including climate change mitigation and energy. 
The London Environment Strategy was one of the first plans of any world city to be compatible with the highest ambition of the Paris Agreement. It commits London to being a zero carbon city by 2050. It sets out the actions the Mayor will take, within his powers, to get there as soon as possible. Khan has committed to accelerating the capital’s efforts to transform its economy to be carbon neutral by 2030. Meanwhile, within London, 24 of the city’s 33 boroughs have declared a Climate Emergency.
support efforts to improve the energy efficiency of homes and public buildings, and roll out smart meters
provide technical assistance to help increase the number of homes and businesses connected to communal heat networks that use local energy sources
a London-wide ambition for there to be 1 GW of installed solar capacity by 2030, with at least 100 MW more solar installed
make sure new developments are zero carbon from 2019, with clean supplies of energy and high energy efficiency designed in from the start
The Mayor also published a ‘1.5°C Compatible Plan’ setting carbon budgets for the key areas of housing, transport and workspace.
The key messages of this plan are
1. London urgently needs to increase the number of buildings retrofitted with energy efficiency measures.
2. Strong national government policy and programmes are needed to get London’s buildings to the required levels of energy efficiency.
3. London’s path towards zero carbon relies on continued grid decarbonisation and more ambitious national government action.
4. Any increases in London’s energy demand should be offset by energy efficiency deployment and increasing use of smart technology to smooth peaks in demand
5. Costs associated with grid upgrades should be manageable
6. Government must decide which low carbon heat pathway the UK will take by the mid-2020s at the latest
7. Each different energy system pathway has its own pros and cons. However, costs may be similar and business as usual is not the cheapest option.
8. Decarbonising transport and increasing use of active and public transport remains a key objective for London.
The Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership has identified four tasks to help businesses develop a strategic response to net zero 
Align organisational purpose, strategy and business models
Set business goals and evidence-based targets, measure and report progress
Embed net zero practices in operations and value chains
Engage, collaborate and advocate for change across regions, sectors and markets
Align organisational purpose, strategy and business models. 
Undertake analysis – and build analytical capability – to ensure businesses’ responses to net zero are informed by a thorough understanding of their climate-related risks and opportunities relating to climate change, as well as of their current and potential contributions to it.
Determine how net zero response delivers on and aligns with the organisation’s purpose. Clarity of purpose is critical in guiding business response over a sustained period. This clarity and alignment will ensure that key strategic, investment and innovation decisions support and do not undermine net zero response.
Establish leadership structures and governance with the necessary capabilities, remit, time and structures to set appropriate ambitions, drive progress and ensure accountability.
Align the organisational strategy with net zero, identifying carbon risks and impacts across the value chain (supply chain, operations, customers and end use/disposal of product for material goods), setting evidence-based goals, cascading the strategy to all business units and functions, and ensuring that all financial investments/capital allocation are aligned with transition to net zero.
Commit to net zero innovation, not only within the goods and services you provide, but also in exploring alternative solutions. For example, rather than focusing on reductions in fugitive emissions from gas production, companies may want to transition away from fossil fuels. Note: given the potential knock-on impacts for workers, companies need to be mindful to ensure that any such transition is socially inclusive and fair.
Develop and maintain agility to adapt as policies, economics, markets and technologies evolve.
Set business goals and evidence-based targets, measure and report progress 
Set commitments, goals and evidence-based targets that take into consideration the nature of the business and its position in theeconomy. These must be aligned to what the science indicates is necessary rather than what is currently possible or convenient. Ensure targets are holistic and fully aligned with net zero. Steps such as reducing a single product’s emissions intensity or showcasing a particular supply chain are unlikely to be adequate
Measure the right things, recognising the interrelationship between climate change, people, the environment and the economy (see box on navigating transition in a VUCA world). Then, report progress by using appropriate criteria and metrics so as to understand and communicate the company’s full impact. Setting an SBT is only the start: it should support and inform a change programme that quickly evolves over time.
Develop and maintain information systems and deploy analytics not only to ensure you have access to the data you need to track progress, but also to generate new insights and solutions. For example, data on flood risk held by the insurance division of a financial institution could be used to inform the development of new products to finance climate-resilient infrastructure. Or data on when homeowners take out home improvement loans could be used to inform the timing of communications campaigns on the benefits of investing in home energy efficiency.
Report publicly on goals and targets and progress towards them, disclosing reliable, balanced information on climate action.
Verification: Have operational greenhouse gas emissions independently audited/verified by a third party, or in accordance with an international assurance standard.
Embed net zero practices in operations and value chains 
Integrate all systems, processes and policies for decision-making, accounting and planning. In particular this includes incorporation into corporate risk function, developing and putting into place necessary policies, codes of conduct, management standards and associated procedures, and the incorporation of strategy and goals into business planning processes and business management systems, e.g. project management systems and accounting or financial management systems.
Empower key functions, assign responsibilities and align incentives. Distribute ownership for net zero progress across the organisation, and mobilise and empower different functions to deliver, so that it sits with the appropriate lines of business instead of a single, central sustainability team that may have minimal influence on business operations. Assign roles and responsibilities for delivering against the strategy, clarifying expectations and responsibilities of employees, and translating goals and targets into performance expectations of individual employees. Where appropriate, link employee compensation to the achievement of net zero goals.
Develop capability and capacity. Net zero strategies place new demands on leaders and require effective leadership capacity right across organisations. This may well require the development of different technical competences. Examples include the capacity to exert influence across complex systems, to collaborate with others in the co-creation of solutions, and to innovate in products, processes and business models. Creating such capacities may require investment in staff development, deployment of skilled and experienced employees into key roles, and the creation of new job functions or roles.
Communicate and engage internally. Keep employees continually informed as the strategies, targets, policies, procedures, and products and services evolve. Ensure viable leadership by the executive team so as to signal the strategic significance of net zero to the business’s future success. Proactively seek and leverage employee input and cultivate influential individuals as champions to support innovation, action and sharing across the business.
Foster innovation across the business. Integrate the net zero ambition into existing innovation processes, including in the areas of tech and digital transformation. Where necessary, create new innovation forums and systems in order to test and scale zero carbon alternatives to current carbon-intensive ways of working. To maintain leading-edge insights into emerging technologies and solutions, pay attention to peers and disruptive innovators in other sectors. Work closely with leading research institutes.
Address legacy issues. Companies often find themselves with legacy products and services that are incompatible with a net zero future. Technological or economic barriers may prevent rapid decarbonisation. In such circumstances, companies are faced with the prospect of investing significantly in research and development (at additional cost) or adopting a phase-out strategy (resulting in lost revenues), or a combination of these approaches. While there are real short-term costs and impacts, the prospect of significant market disruption as a result of transition to a net zero economy means that inaction will not be an option and grappling with these impacts is essential.
Engage, collaborate and advocate for change across regions, sectors and markets 
Use influence to lobby for progressive government ambition – and support the process of developing and implementing climate change policy and regulation.
Demonstrate support for mitigating climate change through membership of industry associations that are supportive and using this as a platform for wider influence.
Shape market demand: work to engage, inspire and educate clients to help them integrate climate impacts into their purchasing decisions. Connect customers/clients with experts, tools and/or capital that improves the visibility and attractiveness of low carbon business cases, and forge strategic partnerships and deep collaborations with key clients to enable the co-creation of solutions.
Engage with investors, shareholders, lenders and insurance providers to influence their focus on long-term transition to a sustainable economy, not short-term financial performance.
Establish a robust communications strategy to develop clear narratives that show economic decarbonisation is in business interests, engage with stakeholders, and communicate the net zero commitments, action plans and performance in a confident and transparent manner.
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