Lithuania's climate change commitments

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The Paris Agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was adopted at the Paris Conference on Climate Change in December 2015. According to the Ministry of Environment, for the first time in history, over 180 countries have submitted commitments for a reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions covering 95% of global emissions to the global Paris Agreement. Among them are not only developed but also developing countries. It is the most complex global international agreement that the leaders of the world have been pursuing for 20 years.

The parties committed themselves to the long-term goal of mitigating climate change, with global warming maintained well below 2 ºC above pre-industrial levels, and to keep the growth below 1.5 ºC.

Under the Paris Agreement, Lithuania has committed itself jointly with the EU and its Member States for the period 2021–2030 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% compared to 1990 levels. This will be achieved through a 43% reduction in total greenhouse gas emissions in the sectors covered by the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) (combustion plants above 20 MW, the chemical and other industry) of the EU and its Member States and in sectors not participating in the scheme (agriculture, transport, waste management, buildings, etc.) – 30% at the EU level compared to 2005 – with binding targets for the individual EU Member States. By 2030, Lithuania will be required to reduce emissions by 9% in the sectors outside the EU ETS compared to 2005.

Lithuania will implement the Paris Agreement through the legislation of the EU 2030 Climate and Energy Framework. Achieving commitments will only be possible through the efforts of all institutions, industry, academia and non-governmental organisations, and through public-private partnerships for innovative environmental solutions, using the fight against climate change as an opportunity for eco-innovation, competitiveness, economic growth and the creation of jobs. Changes are needed in the transport, energy and agriculture sectors. While responsible authorities make the relevant decisions, the population must also contribute by changing their habits, protecting the environment and saving natural resources.

In order to achieve the long-term objectives of the Paris Agreement, Article 15 of Regulation (EC) 2018/1999[i] requires each Member State, by 1 January 2020, to prepare and submit to the European Commission its long-term strategy for reducing GHG emissions with a perspective of at least 30 years, and to start implementing its targets and objectives no later than 1 January 2021 (subsequently updated every 10 years). Article 19 of Regulation (EC) 2018/1999 obliges the development of national strategies for adaptation to climate change.

The National Strategy for Climate Change Management Policy (hereinafter the Strategy) is updated for the period 2021–2050 taking into account that the short-term objectives and targets set out in the Strategy, adopted by resolution No XI-2375 of 6 November 2012 of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania for the period of 2013–2020 will expire from 2021.

The Strategy sets short-term (until 2030), indicative medium-term (until 2040) and long-term (until 2050) goals and targets for climate change mitigation (GHG reduction) and adaptation to climate change.

The aim of the Strategy is to develop a long-term vision for Lithuania's climate change management policy to achieve climate neutrality of the country's economy, to ensure the resilience of the country's economic sectors and ecosystems to climate change impacts and, through sustainable financing and investment, to develop a low-carbon, competitive, socially fair economy to create new green jobs, introduce eco-innovative technologies and increase the production efficiency and consumption of energy from renewable energy sources in all sectors of the country's economy (energy, industry, transport, agriculture, etc.).

[i] Regulation (EU) 2018/1999 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 on the Governance of the Energy Union and Climate Action