The Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project

Europe and Central Asia
Climate Objective
Planning and Implementation Activity
Developing Strategies and Plans
Analysis and Data Collection
Developing and Implementing Policies and Measures
Governance and Stakeholder Engagement
Sub-national Action and Integration
Long-Term Strategies
Sectors and Themes
Barriers Overcome
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), World Resources Institute (WRI)
Case Summary

The purpose of this case study is to show how the design framework of the 2013–15 Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) can be useful for the design of low emissions development strategies. The specific purpose of the DDPP was to inform short-term domestic policy at the national level by providing a long-term trajectory backcasted from sectoral and national 2050 targets consistent with the long-run cumulative global emissions trajectory. This study provides an overview of the DDPP process as related to the organizing institutions, country teams, their scenarios, and the global results and lessons that resulted. It also describes how those lessons can be used for national technical and policy Deep Decarbonization Pathway (DDP) processes.

The first phase of the global Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project ran from 2013 to 2015 to inform COP 21 and the Paris Agreement then being negotiated. A key purpose of the DDPP was to show that deep decarbonization by 2050 and beyond was possible from a national viewpoint contingent on earlier action, and what the national and global enabling conditions might be. Local research teams from 16 countries, 2 were recruited, with widely varying modeling capabilities and initial mindsets regarding domestic emissions reduction potential. For many if not most of the DDPP countries, this was the first full study broad and stringent enough to be called 2°C compliant.

Key findings:

  • An inclusive, rigorous, and jurisdictionally appropriate stakeholder process is required.
  • Basic education is required for all stakeholders.
  • The stakeholder process is an opportunity for alignment of stakeholder languages, bridging of understanding of concepts, and iteration of visions.
  • Stakeholder learning and confidence building is the means, not the end, to achieving the necessary goal (e.g., net-zero emissions)
  • Technology development and transfer, finance for marginal investment and adaptation, and supporting institutions are three key enabling conditions that emerged from the DDPP.
  • The UK Committee on Climate Change, with its five-year carbon budgets and yearly monitoring, is the current gold standard for overseeing implementation of the pathway.

Further Information

Case study author(s)

Dr. Chris Bataille, IDDRI

Year Published