This study contrasts and compares how jurisdictions develop and monitor their strategic plans for achieving greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions. This is useful insight as the Scottish Government develops plans to meet the targets in the Scottish Climate Change Act.

The study looked at 16 jurisdictions (12 national and four sub-national). Of these, eight national and sub-national jurisdictions – Belgium (including Flanders and Wallonia), Germany (including Baden Württemberg), Netherlands, New Zealand and Sweden – were then reviewed in more detail. These were selected based on various criteria, including the level of ambition in their climate plans, the modelling approach used, sub-national links and innovative approaches taken.

Main findings:
  • Only two of the eight jurisdictions have either legislated, or are legislating for, a net zero target.
  • Some have expressed their GHG emission reduction targets as an absolute economy-wide percentage reduction of all GHGs compared to a 1990 baseline. However, there are cases where jurisdictions have chosen to exclude certain sectors from the economy-wide targets being set.
  • When setting a 2050 GHG emissions reduction target, most jurisdictions have set a 2030 target to act as a stepping stone along the way.
  • All jurisdictions had common elements, for example quantitative assessment of emission reduction potential and the associated costs.
  • Jurisdictions would typically enter into political decision-making process which involves engagement with their political parties, key industry players, civil society and academia.
  • Jurisdictions identified the importance of a clear governance and institutional set-up to ensure implementation and regular review of the climate plan. For most jurisdictions, the implementation was led by the Environment Ministry, with support from several other ministries.