The report addresses challenges and barriers in the implementation of the Paris Agreement and finds that world is not on track to meet its long-term goals
Collective action to address the effects of climate change is “not on track” and emissions reductions were not at the scale required to meet the Paris Agreement’s long-term goals, found the synthesis report on the technical dialogue of the first global stocktake.
But first, what exactly is the global stocktake report?
The global stocktake or GST was designed under the Paris Agreement to assess global response to the climate crisis and is held every five years. The GST evaluates the implementation of the Paris Agreement, which binds countries to take collective action and ensure global warming remains “well below” 2 °C, and preferably below 1.5°C.
The recent report shared 17 key technical findings and made it clear that while there is some progress, much more needs to be done.
What are the key findings?
The report said 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” for countries to act. Much more ambition is needed to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by 43% by 2030 and further by 60% in 2035 and reach net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050 globally.
Achieving 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. While more ambitious mitigation targets in NDCs and effective implementing domestic mitigation measures are required, the report also warned that “rapid change can be disruptive”. Therefore, a focus on inclusion and equity will support climate action.
The report emphasised that increased adaptation as well as enhanced efforts to avert, minimise 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. Additionally, the report emphasised that adaptation informed and driven by local contexts enhances its adequacy and effectiveness.
“While indicating that policy and finance actions have fallen short of what is required to manage climate change, the report also provides hope and possibilities of addressing adverse effects of climate change by way of reporting that, almost all countries have acted through NDCs and LT-LEDS and that the possibility of managing global temperature increase is also borne out by climate scenario projections which have tapered down. The GST report places just transition, equity and inclusion alongside climate goals and indicates the need to address these issues along with mitigation and adaptation and not in isolation, said Dhruba Purkayastha, India director, Climate Policy Initiative.
Talking of climate finance, the report said that support for adaptation and funding arrangements for averting, minimising and addressing loss and damage need to be rapidly scaled up from expanded and innovative sources.
For the same, there’s an urgent need to make 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.
With greater focus on energy transition, the report said that existing cleaner technologies need to be rapidly deployed, together with accelerated innovation, development and transfer of new technologies, to support the needs of developing countries.
R R Rashmi, distinguished fellow, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), said, “The first GST report essentially underscores what is already public knowledge, which is the current global emissions are not in line with the global mitigation pathways consistent with the temperature goal of the Paris Agreement and that the aggregate impact of the existing NDCs and pledges is not good enough to close the gap. The report is right in saying that there is a need to raise ambition and that much more action, on all fronts and by all actors, is needed to meet the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement. The value of the report therefore lies at best in establishing, on a scientific and collectively agreed basis, the need to raise the ambition and effect system transformation across all economic sectors in all countries”.
What does the report miss?
Experts said that there is no indication of what needs to be done to bridge the widening gap in terms of ambition or division of responsibility amongst the countries or group of countries as per the agreed principles.
Some have pointed at the formation of language when it comes to equity in actions. R R Rashmi said,“It defines equity rather surprisingly in terms of its alignment more with ambition than with responsibility and capability. On finance again, its emphasis is more on aligning the available finance with the mitigation pathways rather than identifying the sources and methods of scaling up the public finance”.
Adding more to what the report misses, Purkayastha said, “While there is mention of financing Loss and Damage in developing countries there are no tangible solutions presented and the issues are also compounded by high public debt in many countries in the global south. It is interesting to note that there is mention of the need to globally scale up cleantech innovation with a focus on ‘hard to abate’ industrial sectors. This may be an important lever to socialise climate /clean-tech innovation costs in developing countries including India which need transfer of low carbon technology in industrial sectors, specifically steel.”
What comes next?
The report has pointed out gaps and opportunities for governments, business and finance leaders to collaborate at the upcoming COP28 in the United Arab Emirates later this year.
Simon Stiell, executive secretary of UN Climate Change, said, “I urge governments to carefully study the findings of the report and ultimately understand what it means for them and the ambitious action they must take next. It’s the same for businesses, communities and other key stakeholders. While the catalytic role of the Paris Agreement and the multilateral process will remain vital in the coming years, the global stocktake is a critical moment for greater ambition and accelerating action.”