Long-Term Strategies at COP24: 4 Key Takeaways

Long-term strategies featured prominently at COP24 in Katowice, both at the national and non-state levels. Here are four key takeaways that emerged from the climate talks.

1. An increasing number of countries are elaborating long-term, net zero strategies.

 

  • Just two days before talks kicked off, the European Commission presented its vision for a “climate neutral” EU by 2050.

 

  • France presented the draft of its revised long-term strategy at COP24, which increases ambition from the country’s original plan and aims for net zero emissions by 2050.
  • Portugal also presented its roadmap for carbon neutrality at an event at COP24. The nation has committed to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
  • Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama launched the island state’s Low Emissions Development Strategy. Under the “Very High Ambition” scenario, which the country will strive to achieve, Fiji could reach net negative emissions by 2050.
  • Several other countries, ranging from Japan to Costa Rica to Lebanon to Spain, confirmed they are in the process of developing their long-term strategies to be officially submitted to the UNFCCC.

 

2. It’s not just countries – business and development banks are also setting long-term goals.

 

  • Multilateral development banks announced a joint framework to align financial flows with the Paris Agreement, stating “Our operations will be consistent with the different countries’ low-emissions development pathways and compatible with the overall climate change mitigation objectives of the Paris Agreement.” The African Development Bank Group, the Asian Development Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank Group, the Islamic Development Bank, the New Development Bank, and the World Bank Group all signed the declaration.
  • Global shipping giant Maersk set a goal to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. “The only possible way to achieve the so-much-needed decarbonization in our industry is by fully transforming to new carbon neutral fuels and supply chains,” said Chief Operating Officer Søren Toft.
  • Backed by 43 fashion organizations, the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action launched at COP24, including an ambition to deliver a pathway for net zero emissions by mid-century.

 

3. Long-term strategies featured in every major declaration from COP24, inherently linked to increasing national climate ambition.

 

  • Organizations representing business, investors, cities, states and regions called on governments to “Develop and communicate as early as possible, robust long-term plans to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 to inform these and subsequent NDC revisions.”
  • In a declaration signed by countries and non-state actors, the High Ambition Coalition promised to “step up our ambition by 2020, consistent with the long-term temperature of the Paris Agreement, including through long-term low emissions development strategies.”

 

  • At the conclusion of the Talanoa Dialogue, COP Presidents Poland and Fiji issued a Call for Action encompassing the outcomes of the exercise. “We call upon Parties to work closely with non-Party stakeholders to enhance global ambition by 2020 and to develop long-term, low-emission development strategies,” the Call for Action reads.
  • Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama also released a statement on the outcome of the talks, reiterating the need for increased ambition, including long-term strategies: “All governments must now return home and launch or ramp up domestic review processes to prepare new or enhanced NDCs, and develop long-term emissions strategies.”

 

4. Long-term strategies will play a role at the UN 2019 Climate Summit in September.

 

  • UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made multiple visits to COP24, Guterres said that UN agencies will work with governments to develop long-term strategies ahead of the summit, as well as enhanced NDCs.
  • At a side event co-hosted by the 2050 Pathways Platform, Special Envoy for the 2019 Climate Summit Luis Alfonso de Alba also highlighted how LTS could feature at the summit and encouraged not just countries but also non-state actors to embrace a net zero by 2050 target.

  • Members of the Carbon Neutrality Coalition, which launched at last year’s One Planet Summit and added four new members in September, met at COP to set the course going forward for the group and discuss what role they can play at the SG’s summit. The group agreed that long-term strategies should be a key pillar of ambition at the summit.

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