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Next generation low-emission, climate-resilient pathways and NDCs for a future aligned with the Paris Agreement


As showcased by various independent assessments, the current Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and climate policies fall short of reaching the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement. Strengthening is necessary to close the ambition and implementation gaps, and to align national climate action with global objectives, while simultaneously achieving the broader Sustainable Development Goals and social welfare.

Moreover, while countries have put forward plans, strategies, and announcements to reach “net-zero” targets, these commitments are hard to compare due to varying definitions, ranging from “zero-carbon” to “net-zero CO2” and “net-zero greenhouse gases” whereas choosing different gases, different (time)scales and different aggregation methods can lead to very different climate outcomes. To address these concerns, actions should define principles for high-integrity, more coherent climate commitments and review processes.

Projects should contribute to strengthening of national climate policies, NDCs and long-term strategies, by developing next generation low-emission transformation pathways, with increased sectoral detail, and fostering more holistic and more integrative approaches that promote synergies and minimise trade-offs between mitigation, adaptation, biodiversity and other policy objectives. They should support the creation of tools that evaluate the existing NDCs and facilitate monitoring processes.

Projects should address some of the following aspects in their research:

  • Development of sectoral climate transition scenarios (energy production, transport, industry, buildings, food/agriculture etc.).
  • Increase the understanding of the role of ecosystems, in particular land use, in NDCs and other climate commitments identifying options for enhancing transparency and coherence with global models and pathways.
  • Enhance knowledge about the role of non-CO2 gases in meeting the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement and the implications for the transition pathways of countries and sectors.
  • Improve the integration of climate impacts and risks in mitigation pathway analysis, including cost-benefit analysis.
  • Advance knowledge on adequacy and fairness of climate commitments and strategies, taking into consideration feasibility of actual deployment. This should include, but not be limited to, the analysis of the role and effectiveness of international financial flows in delivering on climate goals together with identification of most impactful approaches.
  • Improve understanding of how corporate and non-state commitments could affect national/regional mitigation pathways, for example through their effect on global supply chains.

Co-creation with various stakeholders in the private and public sectors is expected under this topic to ensure that the outcomes produced remain relevant for their end-users. Actions should contribute to improving accessibility of climate change scenarios and models by non-specialist audiences, for example through development and delivery of dedicated services and tools that facilitate user-friendly access and proper use.

Actions may cover a set of regions or be focussed on a specific one and explore it in greater detail. However, in all cases consortia should benchmark their results with global mitigation pathways.

International cooperation is encouraged, in particular with countries of the African Union[[“African Union member states” includes countries whose membership has been temporarily suspended.]] and least developed countries[[]] requiring support for the design and implementation of their NDCs and long-term strategies, as well as with countries making part of the global top ten emitters[[ as per, for example, ]].

Synergies with projects resulting from the topic D1-9. 2023 - Science for successful, high-integrity voluntary climate initiatives should be established as regards the role of non-state voluntary climate initiatives in achieving the objectives of the Paris Agreement, and with projects resulting from the Horizon 2020 topic LC-CLA-02-2019 -Negative emissions and land-use based mitigation assessment[[]] as regards latest methodological developments.

This topic requires the effective contribution of SSH disciplines including ethics and the involvement of SSH experts, institutions as well as the inclusion of relevant SSH expertise, in order to produce meaningful and significant effects enhancing the societal impact of the related research activities.

When dealing with models, actions should promote the highest standards of transparency and openness, as much as possible going well beyond model documentation and extending to aspects such as assumptions, code and data that is managed in compliance with the FAIR principles[[ FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable).]]. In particular, beneficiaries are required to publish data and results in open access databases and/or as annexes to publications. Projects should also take into account, during their lifetime, relevant activities and initiatives for ensuring and improving the quality of scientific software and code, such as those resulting from projects funded under the topic HORIZON-INFRA-2023-EOSC-01-02 on the development of community-based approaches.