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.

Properly executed, 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), working closely with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), is working on a project to help shape the GST process by ensuring a strong focus on opportunities to scale up climate ambition.

The project, which will run in parallel to the GST, aims to facilitate accelerated climate action, at the national and international level, so as to contribute toward the achievement of the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement. In particular the project is focusing on: how the GST process could best be designed and conducted to as to promote the environmental effectiveness of the Paris Agreement; and identifying opportunities and support for enhanced action, as well as implementation, recognizing the goal of higher ambition is best served by highlighting both urgency and opportunity.

In that context, we have developed an “opportunities framework” that may be helpful in adding further structure to the information gathering and technical analysis under the GST, as well as toward generating clear outputs. The framework comprises:

  • Three landscape analyses, or surveys, or promising opportunities that could provide substantial, near-term, scalable, enhanced climate action, ambition, and support in the context of the Paris Agreement’s long-term goals
  • A set of considerations to support the effective organization and distillation of clear signals from the GST. These considerations can help assess collective progress and make key messages more accessible and reflective of the broad range of circumstances of Parties.

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.

Key Project Activities


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


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