USAID has been supporting countries in low-emissions long-term planning through its Transparency and Long-term Strategies (T-LTS) project. This support is particularly relevant against the backdrop of the United States rejoining the Paris Agreement and announcing its renewed commitment to addressing the climate crisis, both at home and abroad. To demonstrate this commitment, President Biden is convening a Leaders Summit on Climate on April 22—Earth Day—to galvanize international cooperation to limit planetary warming by achieving net-zero global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by mid-century or before. Leading up to the Summit, the United States will release an updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), outlining a plan to reduce national emissions by 2030.
Achieving the goal of net-zero GHG emissions by 2050 requires a long-term strategy (LTS) that informs near-term policies, planning, and investments. The Paris Agreement includes a provision recommending that countries develop “long-term low GHG emission development strategies,” or LTS. A long-term strategy establishes a country’s 2050 vision for a sustainable, low-emissions economy and a thriving society and environment.
USAID’s T-LTS, which is implemented by ICF, project is supporting countries to develop transparent, climate-resilient long-term strategies. These are a relatively new concept, with only 28 countries having developed and communicated their LTS to date. To that end, the T-LTS project assessed existing LTS and related efforts, and held two intensive multi-day workshops to build the capacity of climate practitioners in Asia and Latin America to develop LTS in their countries.
The T-LTS project is now developing two new resources, due out in summer 2021, to help national planners address specific needs for long-term strategy development. One effort is a collaboration with the Partnership on Sustainable, Low Carbon Transport (SLOCAT) to create step-by-step guidance for developing a LTS in the transportation sector. Sustainable transportation is critical for inclusive economic growth, public health, and reduced environmental impacts.
The second and related effort is a guidebook to support country governments in incorporating climate risk and resilience into their LTS. Efforts to address climate risks and increase resilience are critical for many countries, but have not typically been included in existing LTS. The guidebook will provide a stepwise approach to integrate climate risk and resilience considerations into mitigation planning, ensuring that future low-carbon investments are resilient to the impacts of climate change and do not exacerbate vulnerabilities. The T-LTS project is providing technical assistance to ministry staff from Trinidad and Tobago to develop key performance indicators that measure the resilience of their LTS activities.
As presidents, prime ministers, chancellors, and monarchs come together at the Leaders Summit on Climate, they will surely discuss what needs happen to achieve long-term goals. The T-LTS guidance documents set to be released this summer will provide concrete and tangible instructions to help countries translate goals into reality and jumpstart decarbonization efforts now.
Derina Man is a Senior Managing Consultant at ICF, a global professional services firm that delivers consulting services and technology solutions in energy, climate change, and other areas. Derina provides technical and policy support related to low-emissions development strategies, greenhouse gas accounting and mitigation, and the phase-out of fluorinated gases. She is currently the project manager for the USAID Transparency and Long-Term Strategies project.