The Global Stocktake: Our world’s personal climate auditor

Whats the Global Stocktake? How does it work? Where do we go from here? Learn what this process means for measuring and meeting Paris Agreement goals. 

by Rahul Ramesh

The Global Stocktake is the process within the Paris Agreement that assesses countries’ collective progress towards its long-term goals. This includes the well-known ambitious temperature targets to limit global warming to well below 2°C – while pursuing efforts to limit global warming to 1.5°C. Read on to learn more about the process and how it will progress in the future. 

What’s the purpose of the Global Stocktake?

The Global Stocktake (aka GST) occurs every 5 years and ultimately aims to inform each country’s nationally determined contribution (NDC). That is, each country’s commitment to reduce GHG emissions in order to achieve the Paris Agreement’s temperature goals. 

If the GST finds that the world is not on a path consistent with the temperature targets, this finding should, theoretically, spur countries to commit to more ambitious NDCs. However, it’s important to recognize that the GST is not a finger-pointing exercise. It doesn’t single out and review any one country’s NDC as it does not want to attribute blame or responsibility to individual countries. It also aims to share best practices and lessons learned regarding climate action to facilitate the implementation of policies that drive better environmental and climate outcomes.  

How does the Global Stocktake work?

The Global Stocktake is a 2-year process consisting of 3 different phases. Firstly, the information collection and preparation, secondly the technical assessment, and finally the consideration of outputs. The current GST cycle, the first ever GST, commenced at COP26 (Glasgow, UK) in November 2021 and will conclude at COP28 (Dubai, United Arab Emirates) in November 2023. 

The technical assessment phase, which began at the 2022 Bonn Climate Change Conference, builds on the information collection and preparation stage. At the core of the information assessed and considered are the findings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPPC’s) Sixth Assessment Report trilogy – the closest thing to scientific consensus on climate change.  

Other inputs include submissions by Parties, Negotiating Groups, NGOs, UN Bodies, and Universities, in addition to things such as summary reports from UN-mandated workshops and UNFCCC synthesis reports on reports and NDCs submitted by Parties. You can find these inputs on the Global Stocktake Information Portal online. 

The next steps are to continue this assessment phase at upcoming climate conferences and present the key findings in the consideration of outputs stage. 

Where will the 2021-23 Global Stocktake go from here?

Although the assessment phase has not yet concluded, the resounding message from the Global Stocktake-related events at the 2022 Bonn Conference is that more needs to be done, and urgently, to meet the Paris Agreement’s goals. After more discussions at COP27 in November this year and the 2023 Bonn Conference in mid-2023, the key findings will be presented at COP28 in November 2023. I expect the same message from the 2022 Bonn Conference to be repeated – that we’ll have to do more and fast. 

Watch our blog for more updates on these discussions and other hot topics ahead of the next Conference of the Parties. 


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