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UNFCC: Global Stocktake is About Ambition, Accountability and Acceleration

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Delegates at the UN Climate Change Conference COP27 wrapped up the second technical dialogue of the first global stocktake – a process that is critical both for implementing the Paris Agreement and accelerating climate action.

Speaking at the close of the dialogue last Friday, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiell stressed that the stocktake is much more than just a technical exercise.

“The global stocktake is an ambition exercise. It’s an accountability exercise. It’s an acceleration exercise,” said Stiell. “It’s an exercise that is intended to make sure every Party is holding up their end of the bargain, knows where they need to go next and how rapidly they need to move to fulfill the goals of the Paris Agreement.”

Last week, government delegates, observers and experts took part in a series of events at COP27 to discuss where they’re collectively making progress towards meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement – and where they’re not. These discussions can help countries course correct so they can ramp up ambition to achieve the Paris Agreement’s goal to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Participants shared the best-available science and assessments of mitigation, adaptation, and means of implementation (climate finance, technology transfer, and capacity building). They also showcased climate solutions and identified barriers that stand in the way of taking action.

“We were pleased by the meaningful discussions and engagement by all participants,” said Farhan Akhtar, co-facilitator of the technical dialogue. “While understandably, perspectives differed across the room, we hope that … we are building understanding of our challenges and where there are opportunities to address them.”

Although the dialogue centres on taking stock of past actions, it is also about forward momentum to unlock more ambitious climate action and support.

“A significant part of this exercise is about identifying opportunities for action: on mitigation, on adaptation, on finance, on transparency and incorporating what those outside the process are doing as well,” said Stiell. “It’s about ‘where do we stand’ in order to inform ‘here’s where we should go next.’”

The global stocktake is unfolding in a critical decade for climate action. Global emissions need to be nearly halved by 2030 for the world to stand a chance of achieving the Paris Agreement’s goal to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Transformational adaptation is also needed to help communities cope with already occurring climate impacts.

However, a new UN Climate Change report published last month shows that while countries are bending the curve of global greenhouse gas emissions downward, these efforts remain insufficient to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.

According to the report, the combined climate pledges of 193 Parties under the Paris Agreement could put the world on track for around 2.5 degrees Celsius of warming by the end of the century.

The report’s findings underscore the need for urgent implementation and much more ambitious climate action.

“The global stocktake is an opportunity to look at how to do this in a comprehensive manner: one that factors in mitigation, adaptation and means of implementation and support as well as elements of loss and damage and response measures,” said Stiell. “It brings everything together.”

What happens next

There are three components to the global stocktake process:

Information collection and preparation
Technical assessment
Consideration of outputs
The last phase, consideration of outputs, will take place at COP28 in 2023. That’s when the findings of the technical assessment will be synthesized and presented, and their implications discussed and considered.

The technical assessment and information collection and preparation components of the stocktake are currently running concurrently and will conclude with the third and final technical dialogue at the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn in June next year.

The co-facilitators of the technical dialogue will prepare a summary report in the coming weeks to capture the discussions at COP27.

“I encourage you to ensure the outputs from the Global Stocktake are focused on action: that they ultimately inform Parties in a way that they can rapidly update and enhance their actions and support, that they do it in a nationally determined manner and in a way that enhances international collaboration,” said Stiell.

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