Our key takeaway: The global stocktake (the GST you’ve been reading about on Linkedin) is… kind of a massive deal. It takes place every five years, and the first one ever is set to conclude at COP28. The results of the global stocktake will inform the next round of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), that will be submitted by governments by 2025. The GST looks at where the world stands on climate action and support, and paves the way for actions ahead to accelerate climate action. There are three phases in the GST: gathering all the data (that started 2 years ago), evaluating the data (that ended this summer), and responding to the assessment (taking place now at COP28). The technical report that is forming the basis of the discussions at COP28 was published in September 2023. The key takeaway: we are emitting way too many greenhouses gases, and “there is a rapidly narrowing window to raise ambition and implement existing commitments in order to limit warming to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels.” The report reiterates that “[t]here is a rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all.” The technical report makes a clear connection between advancing on the systems transformations needed, and focusing on inclusion and equity - making clear that equity actually enables greater ambition and increases the likelihood of meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement. Those most affected by climate impacts should be involved in crafting the solutions, and just transition principles can be adopted and implemented through collective and participatory decision-making processes to reduce the disruptive consequences of rapid systems transformations.
The findings from the Paris Agreement’s global stocktake’s technical report published in September 2023 delves into the context; the mitigation, including response measures, adaptation, including loss and damage; and means of implementation and support and finance flows. (We have added the emphasis in bold in the quotes below):
- Context: The report finds that “since its adoption, the Paris Agreement has driven near-universal climate action by setting goals and sending signals to the world regarding the urgency of responding to the climate crisis. While action is proceeding, much more is needed now on all fronts.” Further, “to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty, governments need to support systems transformations that mainstream climate resilience and low GHG emissions development. Credible, accountable and transparent actions by non-Party stakeholders are needed to strengthen efforts for systems transformations.” In particular, “[a]ccelerating action on climate change is crucial for achieving sustainable development. Policies and measures that promote climate resilience and low GHG emission development can be made mutually supportive through whole-of-society approaches and integrated, inclusive policymaking.” Finally, “systems transformations open up many opportunities, but rapid change can be disruptive. A focus on inclusion and equity can increase ambition in climate action and support.” Specifically, “[e]quity should enable greater ambition and increase the likelihood of meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement. Those most affected by climate impacts should be involved in crafting solutions.”
- Mitigation, including response measures: The report finds that “global emissions are not in line with modelled global mitigation pathways consistent with the temperature goal of the Paris Agreement, and there is a rapidly narrowing window to raise ambition and implement existing commitments in order to limit warming to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels.” This means that “much more ambition in action and support is needed in implementing domestic mitigation measures and setting more ambitious targets in NDCs to realize existing and emerging opportunities across contexts, in order to reduce global GHG emissions by 43 per cent by 2030 and further by 60 per cent by 2035 compared with 2019 levels and reach net zero CO2 emissions by 2050 globally.” “[A]chieving net zero CO2 and GHG emissions requires systems transformations across all sectors and contexts, including scaling up renewable energy while phasing out all unabated fossil fuels, ending deforestation, reducing non-CO2 emissions and implementing both supply- and demand-side measures. When it comes to just transitions specifically, the report finds that “just transitions can support more robust and equitable mitigation outcomes, with tailored approaches addressing different contexts. The concept of equity is complex and multidimensional. … [E]quity should align with an upward spiral of ambition in implementing the Paris Agreement. Just transition principles can be adopted and implemented through collective and participatory decision-making processes to reduce the disruptive consequences of rapid systems transformations.” Finally, “economic diversification is a key strategy to address the impacts of response measures, with various options that can be applied in different contexts.”
- Adaptation, including loss and damage: The report finds that “as climate change threatens all countries, communities and people around the world, increased adaptation action as well as enhanced efforts to avert, minimize and address loss and damage are urgently needed to reduce and respond to increasing impacts, particularly for those who are least prepared for change and least able to recover from disasters.” In particular, “[t]here is a rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all. Losses and damages to human and natural systems have already been observed. Climate impacts are eroding past human development gains and, without sufficient adaptation action, will impede the ability to make such gains in the future.” Further, “collectively, there is increasing ambition in plans and commitments for adaptation action and support, but most observed adaptation efforts are fragmented, incremental, sector-specific and unequally distributed across regions.” The report finds that “when adaptation is informed and driven by local contexts, populations and priorities, both the adequacy and the effectiveness of adaptation action and support are enhanced, and this can also promote transformational adaptation.” “[A]verting, minimizing and addressing loss and damage requires urgent action across climate and development policies to manage risks comprehensively and provide support to impacted communities.” Finally, “[S]upport for adaptation and funding arrangements for averting, minimizing and addressing loss and damage need to be rapidly scaled up from expanded and innovative sources, and financial flows need to be made consistent with climate-resilient development to meet urgent and increasing needs.”
- Means of implementation and support and finance flows: The report reiterates that the Paris Agreement recognizes finance, technology and capacity-building as critical levers of enabling climate action. “[M]aking financial flows consistent with a pathway towards low GHG emissions and climate-resilient development will also be critical. Scaling up climate ambition also requires transforming the international financial system.” Thus, “scaled-up mobilization of support for climate action in developing countries entails strategically deploying international public finance, which remains a prime enabler for action, and continuing to enhance effectiveness, including access, ownership and impacts.” In addition, “making financial flows – international and domestic, public and private – consistent with a pathway towards low GHG emissions and climate-resilient development entails creating opportunities to unlock trillions of dollars and shift investments to climate action across scales.” “[E]xisting cleaner technologies need to be rapidly deployed, together with accelerated innovation, development and transfer of new technologies, to support the needs of developing countries.” And “capacity-building is foundational to achieving broad-ranging and sustained climate action and requires effective country-led and needs-based cooperation to ensure capacities are enhanced and retained over time at all levels.”