Photo: Mariusz Prusaczyk / Pixabay

There is a significant misalignment between governments’ energy production plans and climate goals, with governments planning to extract 60% more oil, 70% more gas and 280% more coal by 2030 than would be consistent with a 1.5°C pathway.

Production dipped in 2020, as a result of COVID-19 lockdowns, but it may rebound if governments revert to these pre-pandemic production plans in their efforts to rebuild. Meanwhile, COVID-19 recovery assessments suggest that public investments in low-carbon energy and infrastructure can better support economic growth and job creation than investments in fossil fuels and related infrastructure.

Transforming energy systems requires careful planning and cooperation across multiple sectors. Two ongoing processes under the Paris Agreement can facilitate this: countries are currently submitting updates to their nationally determined contributions (NDCs), as well as long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies (LT-LEDS).

These documents are important tools for governments to communicate their medium-term (5–10 year) and long-term (mid-century) plans to address the climate crisis to the international community. The current confluence of COVID-19 recovery plans, NDC updates and development of LT-LEDS presents a unique opportunity to “build back better” from the pandemic.

This brief explains how countries can utilise their NDCs and LT-LEDS to promote measures that support a just and equitable transition away from fossil fuel production.