Global Climate Stocktake Urges More Action – And Trillions More Dollars
Hong Kong experienced its worst flooding since 1884 last week (8 September 2023)

Much more action, ambition and trillions of dollars are needed to limit global heating to 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels as agreed by the Paris Agreement, according to a global stocktake report released on Friday by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

While the 46-page report with 17 key findings is delivered in technical language, its key message is unambiguous and chilling: There is “a rapidly narrowing window” to confine global warming to 1.5 °C. 

The stocktake was released during a week that saw unprecedented floods in places as diverse as Hong Kong, Brazil, Spain, Venezuela, Pakistan, Greece and Nigeria.

It calls for “much more ambition in action and support” and “more ambitious targets” by countries – called nationally determined contributions (NDC).

The challenge is dauntingly huge: global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions need to be cut by 43% by 2030 and further by 60% by 2035 (compared with 2019 levels) and reach net zero CO2 emissions by 2050.

The key to achieving this is phasing out all unabated fossil fuels – which in turn rests on massively scaling up renewable energy. Doing so needs “systems transformations” in industry, transport, buildings and other sectors.

Reversing deforestation by 2030 and restoring natural ecosystems will “result in large-scale CO2 absorption and co-benefits” – but achieving this rests on intensifying sustainable agriculture without further land expansion.

‘Redeploy trillions of dollars’

Some of the paths to achieving this include economic diversification and “strategically deploying international public finance” to support climate action in developing countries.

“It is essential to unlock and redeploy trillions of dollars to meet global investment needs, including by rapidly shifting finance flows globally to support a pathway towards low GHG emissions and climate-resilient development,” asserts the stocktake.

“More than 137 non-Party stakeholders submitted input on their actions and support for the Paris Agreement goals, in total over 170,000 pages of written submissions were received, and we had over 252 hours of meetings and discussions over the three meetings of the technical dialogue – in plenaries, roundtables and world café formats,” said co-facilitator Harald Winkler, a professor from the University of Cape Town in South Africa.

“Much more is needed now, on all fronts and by all actors to meet the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement.”

The stocktake will be discussed at the 28th UN climate negotiations, the Conference of the Parties (COP28), hosted in the United Arab Emirates from 30 November.

Simon Stiell, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change, urged all 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”. 

“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,” Stiell added.

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