"Paris Compatible" Governance: long-term policy frameworks to drive transformational change
Governments around the world have already adopted long-term climate frameworks, many in legal form. Many others are in the process of developing similar laws or strategies. These overarching long-term frameworks are critical to effectively implementing the Paris Agreement, as tools for managing the necessary transformation of all sectors of the economy. Such climate frameworks help set appropriate long-term targets, chart pathways towards them and identify the necessary policies. They can also help build political support, engage stakeholders and expert advice and create accountability. And they can facilitate raising ambition further — as foreseen under the new Paris system. The 13 case studies from different parts of the world all show unique features, which this report presents as examples for policy-makers and stakeholders interested in developing similar frameworks, that are compatible with the Paris Agreement.
The Paris Agreement is a landmark agreement in many respects. It signals the global consensus to take urgent action on climate change but also establishes the long-term objectives that need to be reached. The Agreement also introduces a new governance framework, that consists of nationally determined contributions, five-year review cycles to increase ambition over time, and long-term strategies. Governments at different levels realise that effectively implementing Paris requires new long-term governance frameworks to be adopted in their contexts. Climate governance is a new field of study and needs urgent attention for this Paris implementation phase. This report hopes to contribute to the growing evidence base on effective long-term governance systems and to support those policy-makers interested in developing such frameworks.
Mindful of the different circumstances and respective design choices, the analysis of 13 case studies (six nation states, two sub-national states and five cities) provides for a set of conclusion, which could inform the development of similar long-term climate laws and strategies around the world:
- Momentum: governments aiming to implement Paris turn to (legal) long-term frameworks
- Power of the law: legal frameworks can more effectively driver transformational change
- Increasing ambition: legal frameworks can contribute to raising ambition
- Political commitment: stakeholder ownership is key for success and needs work to achieve
- External advice: dedicated institutions can provide expertise and transparency, need capacity
- Mind the gap: progress monitoring should include policy reviews
- Roadmaps to the future: short-term decisions must serve the transformation
- Innovative elements: carbon budgets, citizen engagement, climate justice
- Financial flows: policy specifics connect climate action to state budgets
- Getting started: various drivers can trigger the adoption of long-term frameworks
- City level frameworks can work well – but need support and different strategies
This analysis is part of a larger ongoing research effort which aims to enhance our understanding of the development and effective implementation of long-term climate governance that can be compatible with the objectives of the Paris Agreement. Several of the issues touched upon in this paper will be explored in deeper and more detailed analyses of the cases of the UK climate act and the French energy transition law, which is being carried out by the Grantham Institute and IDDRI, respectively.
Given the relative novelty of long-term climate governance, the present assessment is based largely on potential and not yet on measurable performance. That said, the experiences gained from more mature models provide a basis for predicting the potential impact of newer regimes.