Programme and Networks Manager Gintarė Zinkevičiūtė reports on the Global Stocktake – a crucial evaluation of the world’s climate progress.

The first-ever Global Stocktake was central to COP28 in Dubai. Beyond its primary purpose of evaluating countries’ collective progress towards achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement, the Global Stocktake plays a critical role in “ratcheting up” (increasing) climate ambition.

The key components of Global Stocktake

The Global Stocktake (GST) is set to take place every 5 years, with the aim of evaluating countries’ collective progress on mitigation, adaptation, means of implementation and support related to the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Negotiations at COP28 were informed by earlier stages of the Global Stocktake, including written inputs from numerous stakeholders – which totalled 170,000 pages – and summary reports from three technical dialogues. These dialogues invited party and non-party stakeholders to identify well-known gaps (‘what’ (TD1.1), ‘how’ to bridge these gaps (TD1.2), ‘what is next?’ (TD1.3)).

COP28. Credit: UN Climate Change.

Negotiations at COP28

GST negotiations in Dubai involved extensive discussions and multiple draft text proposals that were led by co-chairs Alison Campbell and Joseph Teo.

The first draft of the text was greeted with disappointment from most parties, leading to a collective call for increased ambition and a push for a more action-oriented text. In light of this feedback, the co-chairs revisited the text and produced a second draft. This revised version, twice the length of the original, incorporated input and submissions from the involved parties. The text therefore contained a variety of different options for language, ranging from ambitious language on fossil fuel phase-out to the complete omission of the subject.

Despite communicating a long list of surgical edits, parties remained at odds on key priorities of the text, particularly regarding pre-2020 emissions and the new draft’s ‘way forward’ section. Due to the challenges of accommodating all party requests, the contact group concluded that the text was not yet agreed and negotiations continued.

The ensuing week involved rigorous bilateral discussions among parties in order to identify a middle ground on outstanding issues. The draft text put forth by the COP28 President faced resistance due to weakened ambition. After extensive and sustained talks, parties were able to reach a consensus.

ELEVATE event at COP28: Beyond the Global Stocktake to create feasible & just transitions. Find out more here.

The final Global Stocktake text did not deliver the ambitious decision that was hoped for, however, it sends clear signals on how the world can stay within the 1.5°C global warming limit.

The Global Stocktake decision concludes that, despite overall progress, countries are not collectively on track towards achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. It was agreed that, in this critical decade, parties must accelerate action, ensure sustainable development and increase efforts to eradicate poverty.

Key outcomes include the agreement to transition away from fossil fuels in energy systems in a just, orderly and equitable manner, as well as phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that do not address energy poverty or just transitions. Furthermore, it was agreed to triple renewable energy capacity globally and double the global average annual rate of energy efficiency improvements by 2030. The text also emphasizes the crucial need for substantial support for developing countries, especially as they navigate transitions that are both just and equitable.

However, the final text lacks the necessary details to guarantee high ambition and action, and contains various loopholes, including vague references to the role of CCS (carbon capture and storage) and transition fuels, as well as unclear timelines. Many crucial decisions, including the speed at which national governments choose to transition from fossil fuels, are left to the discretion of individual nations and will be reflected in the next round of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to be submitted by the end of 2025.

This work does not conclude in Dubai and the upcoming two years are critical for catalyzing ambitious and urgent action.

What is next?

Climate Strategies is working closely with world-leading researchers to identify the lessons learned from the first Global Stocktake and to support policymakers with the preparation of new NDCs and national climate policies.

The ELEVATE project will deliver a new generation of global and national scenarios to strengthen climate policies worldwide and to support the achievement of net-zero goals. As part of this project, the Global Forum to ELEVATE Climate Ambitions was established to enable international cooperation and mutual learning between diverse stakeholders.

The Pulling Power of Paris (PullP) project aims to assess the role of the governance architecture of the Paris Agreement in mobilizing states’ climate policy ambition, and will expand knowledge about how to ratchet up countries’ ambitions.