The Czech Republic steps up to the UNFCCC plate and delivers its long term climate strategy ahead of many others

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Where are we? Where do we need to be? How do we get there?

So far, seven countries have submitted Long Term Strategies (LTS) to the UNFCCC.  We need to be on track to a 1.5C world, and in order to do that, countries need to outline their long-term plans for reducing emissions.

And that’s exactly what happened on the 15th of January 2018, when the Czech Republic joined a small circle of countries (France, Benin, United States, Mexico, Germany and Canada) in submitting its LTS to the UNFCCC secretariat. In doing so, the Czech Republic sent a clear message that it’s thinking about what its long, mid and short term contributions to the global effort to reduce emissions should be.

Based on the WWF MaxiMiseR evaluation of EU Member State’s long-term climate and energy strategies, the strategy submitted by the Czech Republic scores well on public transparency and sets short and long-term emission reductions goals. It is among a group of seven EU countries  we found to be in line with the pre-Paris Agreement EU goal of 80-95% cuts by 2050 compared to 1990 levels, and helpfully references funding sources needed for implementation.

However, our analysis shows that there is plenty of room for the Czech Republic to improve in many areas, such as on ambition and political commitment . That’s why their long-term strategy only came eighth out of thirteen in the WWF MaxiMiseR project’s quality ranking of EU Member States’ Long Term Strategies.  

WWF MaxiMiseR’s overall findings from the repeated  evaluation of long-term strategies delivered by Member States in the EU in October 2017, weren’t particularly heartening. Compared to the eleven 2050 strategies we found in our earlier assessment  - based on submissions from Member States in 2015 - there were  only thirteen strategies as of October 2017.  Of note is that Ireland had published its national mitigation plan, the UK and Germany had delivered new strategies to replace earlier ones, and the Czech Republic and Estonia had both delivered 2050 strategies for the first time in 2017. Disappointingly, the range in quality of the strategies was still as great as it was in our first evaluation - and points to an obvious lack of guidance from the EU on what these strategies should contain, - despite WWF MaxiMiseR producing a guidance report with 10 essential elements for building a successful Long Term Strategy.

Whilst we know that more and more countries are developing LTS ahead of 2020, seven countries just two years in advance of 2020 isn’t nearly enough of a show of commitment. Countries must follow the lead of these seven countries and outline their plans for reducing emissions in the short, mid and long-term. Fingers crossed for the vote of the European Parliament on the governance regulation on 17 January. MEPs have the possibility to move the delivery date for climate strategies to 2019 instead of 2020 and timing matters.