As part of the international Paris Agreement on climate change, all countries agreed that they should develop long-term climate strategies. These strategies set out a mid-century vision to cut greenhouse gas emissions and improve climate resilience, while simultaneously achieving national development objectives and paving the way for long-term climate action.

This analysis examines the plans submitted as of June 2021 and assesses how they aim to drive ambitious national climate action in the near-term and help deliver on net-zero emission goals. It identifies the common trends and transformations that these parties envisage across all sectors of the economy and pinpoints the elements where further action is needed. It finds that while early progress on long-term climate strategies has been made, many countries, still require support to develop and implement their long-term strategies. Policymakers can therefore use this research to help shape the design and rigour of their long-term strategies.

Key Findings

  • All long-term climate strategies set a long-term vision for climate action, covering areas of mitigation, adaptation, and/or development.
  • Most long-term climate strategies present results of mitigation modeling exercises, illustrating different pathways for achieving parties’ long-term visions.
  • All long-term climate strategies envisage fundamental shifts across all sectors of the economy.
  • Most long-term climate strategies include economy-wide and sector-specific near-term targets, milestones, and action plans. And there are also early indications that long-term climate strategies are increasingly informing parties’ revised nationally determined contributions (NDCs).
  • Most long-term climate strategies mention the importance of a just transition, recognizing that the future transformations will disproportionately affect those whose livelihoods are tied to a high-carbon economy.
  • All long-term climate strategies recognize the impacts of future climatic changes on all sectors of the economy and describe the environmental, social, human, and economic risks from inaction.
  • All long-term climate strategies suggest a commitment to ensure their relevance and longevity.
  • All long-term climate strategies describe how key stakeholders have been and will be consulted in the development and implementation of the strategies.
  • Although long-term climate strategies submitted to the UNFCCC are not legally binding themselves, some are bolstered by formal laws.
  • Overall, the tenor of the long-term climate strategies has shifted in the last five years.
  • There is also a significant and growing movement toward “net-zero” strategies, regardless of emissions size or stage of economic development.