As the world gears up for the outcomes of COP28, a pivotal event in the ongoing battle against climate change, all eyes are on the first-ever global stocktake—a comprehensive evaluation of progress since the 2015 Paris Agreement.
In this blog post, we’ll explore what the global stocktake entails, the key findings so far, and the critical recommendations it provides to steer us toward a sustainable future.
Understanding the Global Stocktake
Since its inception in 1995, the Conference of the Parties (COP) has been an annual gathering for UN member states to collaboratively tackle climate change. The Paris Agreement mandates member states to track and report their environmental efforts, culminating in a global stocktake every five years.
The global stocktake serves as a vital assessment tool, measuring advancements made in addressing global warming. It involves a meticulous analysis of various factors, including stock prices, market trends, economic growth, and geopolitical influences. This process aims to provide a snapshot of the global economic landscape, enabling stakeholders to make informed decisions.
Scheduled every five years, the findings from this two-year process play a crucial role in shaping climate action strategies. The COP28, which commenced on November 30 in the United Arab Emirates, will host discussions on the outcomes of this groundbreaking evaluation.
How the GST Works: Components of the Global Stocktake
The ongoing COP28 will see the first Global Stocktake CMA3 (November 2021) – CMA6 (November 2023). The GST operates on a two-year cycle, involving data gathering, technical assessment, and political deliberations. These components include:
- Information Collection and Preparation (CMA3 – SB 58): The first phase of the GST, spanning from CMA3 (November 2021) to SB 58 (June 2023), revolves around Information Collection and Preparation (ICP). This crucial stage involves gathering, compiling, and synthesizing data to inform the subsequent Technical Assessment. Guided by Article 14 and decision 19/CMA.1, the process uses non-exhaustive lists (Paragraphs 36 and 37) to identify sources and types of information for the GST. Sources include the IPCC AR6 and UNEP’s Adaptation Gap Report to inform technical components.
- Technical Assessment (SB56 – SB58): Spanning from SB56 (June 2022) to SB58 (June 2023), the Technical Assessment focuses on evaluating collective progress toward the goals of the Paris Agreement. This phase involves contributions from Parties and non-Party stakeholders, addressing nearly 900 inputs from various sources through calls for submissions and technical dialogues. Timed to coincide with IPCC reports, this phase aims to assess implementation, identify opportunities for enhanced action and support, and encourage international cooperation for climate action.
- Consideration of Outputs (CMA5 – November 2023): The concluding phase, also known as the “Political Phase,” occurs at CMA5, during COP sessions, where findings are presented, and countries collectively agree on key political messages to formalize commitments aligning with the Paris goals. It focuses on the implications of the Technical Assessment’s findings. Parties convene in high-level events, chaired by a committee comprising CMA Presidencies and Chairs of SBSTA and SBI, to discuss and present the outcomes. This discussion informs Parties in updating and enhancing their climate actions and support, aligning with the Paris Agreement’s provisions.
Recommendations from the Global Stocktake
The report on the global stocktake delineates four key recommendations to enable the actualization of the Paris Agreement. These areas are accompanied by specific actions proposed by the global stocktake:
- Mitigation: Bending the Curve by 2025: The report underscores the need for drastic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to limit global warming to 1.5°C. The global stocktake suggests key actions:
- Scaling up renewables and reducing fossil fuel reliance.
- Implementing emission reduction strategies across industries and transport.
- Preserving forests and addressing non-CO2 emissions.
- Adaptation: Responding to Climate Change Effects: Adaptation strategies are deemed crucial, with a focus on:
- Supporting local communities, especially in developing regions.
- Promoting transparent adaptation reports for effective climate action.
- Finance (Bridging the Climate Funding Gap): To achieve climate goals, an estimated $5.9 trillion in financing is required by 2050 for developing countries. The stocktake recommends:
- Increasing support for climate action in developing nations.
- Aligning global financial flows with climate goals
- Exploring innovative financial instruments such as debt-for-climate swaps.
- Cooperation and Knowledge Transfer: Recognizing global disparities in climate targets and capacities, the stocktake suggests:
- Standardizing evaluations of each country’s commitment.
- Strengthening capacity building across all climate action spheres.
- Deploying cleaner technologies to support developing countries’ climate plans.
The GST evaluates advancements against the three central objectives outlined in Article 2 of the Paris Agreement:
- Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions: The GST aims to drastically reduce emissions to keep the global temperature rise below 2°C, ideally targeting 1.5°C.
- Building Resilience: Efforts are made to enhance resilience and reduce vulnerability to climate impacts.
- Financial Support: The GST assesses progress in securing finance for low-carbon and climate-resilient development, addressing the needs of developing countries in particular.
Implementation and Oversight
The responsibility for conducting the GST lies with the ‘Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement’ (CMA), the governing body overseeing Paris Agreement implementation. The process involves collaboration with supporting groups within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), with significant contributions from the Subsidiary Bodies (SBs) – the SB for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and the SB for Implementation (SBI).
Findings of the First Global Stocktake
The first Global Stocktake (GST) synthesis report, published in September 2023, outlines 17 key findings that collectively signal insufficient global progress in addressing climate change, emphasizing the imperative for enhanced efforts to meet the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement. Key components of the report are:
- The report underscores a substantial ’emissions gap’ of 20.3–23.9 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, representing 38–45% of global annual emissions.
- Parties are urged to adopt more ambitious mitigation targets in their updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), including phasing out unabated fossil fuels and ending deforestation.
- Just transition and equity considerations are highlighted, emphasizing the need for collective and participatory decision-making processes to mitigate disruptive consequences for jobs and communities during the transition away from fossil fuels.
- The report acknowledges an increasing ambition but notes that most adaptation action and support are fragmented, incremental, sector-specific, and unevenly distributed across regions.
- Parties are called upon to enhance transparency in reporting adaptation efforts and ensure that actions are context-driven, focusing on traditionally marginalized groups such as women, youth, and Indigenous Peoples.
- The urgent need to scale up finance for adaptation, including addressing loss and damage, is emphasized, recognizing the narrowing window of opportunity to avert, minimize, and address the impacts of climate change on human and natural systems.
Implementation and Finance:
- Despite increased climate finance from developed to developing countries, the report identifies shortfalls in mobilization and provision of such finance.
- Transformation of the global financial system is recommended, involving strategic deployment of international public finance to support climate action in developing countries.
- Simplified access to international climate funds and the creation of enabling conditions by mitigating financial risks are highlighted, aiming to lower investment costs and create more investable products.
- Accelerated technology transfer is identified as a key means of implementation to bridge existing gaps and facilitate progress towards climate goals.
Implications for Future Climate Action
As we await the outcomes of COP28, it is clear that immediate, concerted action is needed to bridge the gaps identified by the stocktake.The world’s leaders must come together, armed with innovative solutions and a shared commitment to achieving the goals set forth in the Paris Agreement. Only through global cooperation and unwavering dedication can we hope to secure a sustainable future for generations to come.
CheckCarbonFact is a social accountability platform for climate action by citizens, companies, and governments. It is a UK-based enterprise with a focus on engendering collective responsibility and mutual accountability in climate change mitigation and adaptation.
The vision of CheckCarbonFact is to mobilise collective action in the race to save the planet; and the mission is to guard against greenwashing, empower sustainable consumerism; and address climate inequities and inequality.
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