Global Stocktake: An Opportunity for Ambition

Global Stocktake: An Opportunity for Ambition

Parties to the Paris Agreement are required to undertake a global stocktake (GST) every five years to assess collective progress toward the agreement’s long-term mitigation, adaptation, and finance goals. Informed by the GST, each Party is expected to communicate a new updated nationally determined contribution (NDC) representing a “progression” beyond its previous NDC and reflecting its “highest possible ambition.” This combination of GST and NDC updating is known as the “ambition cycle.” Beginning in 2022 and culminating in 2023, the first GST will be conducted in three phases: information collection and preparation; technical assessment; and consideration of outputs.

Many governments, experts, and stakeholders are already undertaking an assessment of collective progress towards achieving the Paris Agreement’s goals, as well as identifying remaining gaps. But Parties and non-Parties do not need a two-year process to be told that they are falling short.

The GST process can provide the strong foundation necessary to progressively and effectively enhance climate ambition. In this context, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) is working on a project to help shape the GST process by ensuring a strong focus on opportunities to scale up climate ambition. To add real value and make a difference, the GST process must send clear and specific signals as to what Parties and non-Party stakeholders should do next in order to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement and avoid catastrophic climate change that is beyond our ability to adapt. These signals need to include the identification and highlighting of specific and implementable solutions that speak directly to national level policy makers and stakeholders in very country.

In that context the project aims for an ambitious and environmentally effective outcome from the GST at COP28 that: leverages COP28 as a forcing event to drive needed real-world action; assists countries to implement existing climate commitments; and facilitates the raising the ambition of their next round of commitments. The formal GST also operates as part of an equally important wider context beyond the UNFCCC GST process, with additional political milestones, related events, and developments that will also shape climate ambition. The success of the GST depends on adequate attention to this dimension, with a strong emphasis on near-term scalable action in the context of the Paris Agreement’s long-term goals.

Given that the role of the GST is to inform the enhancement and implementation of climate action, what happens after the GST ends at COP28 is just as important as what comes before.

Key Project Activities

Papers

Designing a Meaningful Global Stocktake Under the Paris Agreement

Developed with feedback from several brainstorming sessions with key experts, this paper examines how the GST, within the constraints of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), can best advance the effectiveness of the Paris Agreement and offer a real moment of reckoning for the international community on its efforts to address climate change.

To this end the paper investigates: (1) the design of the GST, as mandated and underway, focusing on the evolving context, emerging gaps, and challenges within the UN climate regime; and (2) the interaction of the GST process with the wider landscape of intergovernmental and transnational institutions, initiatives, and fora in global climate governance beyond the UN climate regime.

Distilling Critical Signals from the Global Stocktake

This paper sets out a high-level, initial description of considerations that decision-makers might want to take into account—and elaborate further as needed—when deciding how to organize the work of the GST. The limited time available to the GST risks being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of relevant information. It will be vital to focus attention and facilitate the emergence of clear messages and priorities that can strengthen the impact of the GST on global climate ambition.

Landscape Analyses: Mitigation, Adaptation, and Finance

To provide the basis for the opportunities framework and engagement strategy, C2ES and EDF developed three landscape analyses, or surveys of current and emerging research, data, frameworks, initiatives, technologies, policy options and processes within and without the UNFCCC across mitigation, adaptation, and finance. These analyses also identify, on the basis of the survey, the most effective interventions for enhancing global climate action, as well as those countries and actors that could be the most effective targets or beneficiaries of those interventions.

Mitigation Landscape Analysis: Themes and Trends 

Landscape Analysis of Adaptation Opportunities for Climate Ambition 

Climate Finance Landscape Analysis: Themes and Trends

Events

Ambition Beyond COP 27
May 24, 2022

Designing a Meaningful Global Stocktake (GST) webinar
January 25, 2022

Ambition beyond COP26
November 2, 2021

Ensuring an effective Global Stocktake: What role for civil society & the climate science community?
November 10, 2021

Ambition: COP26 and Beyond
September 23, 2021

For More Information: Please contact C2ES Associate Director Jennifer Huang: