What is Global Stocktake?

One of the buzzwords from the Paris Climate Conference Agreement

Written by Amitabh Sinha | Published:December 16, 2015 12:40 am
French President Francois Hollande, right, French Foreign Minister and president of the COP21 Laurent Fabius, second, right, United Nations climate chief Christiana Figueres and United Nations Secretary General Ban ki-Moon hold their hands up after the final conference at the COP21, the United Nations conference on climate change, in Le Bourget, north of Paris, Saturday, Dec.12, 2015. (Source: AP) French President Francois Hollande, right, French Foreign Minister and president of the COP21 Laurent Fabius, second, right, United Nations climate chief Christiana Figueres and United Nations Secretary General Ban ki-Moon hold their hands up after the final conference at the COP21, the United Nations conference on climate change, in Le Bourget, north of Paris, Saturday, Dec.12, 2015. (Source: AP)

‘Global stocktake’ refers to a proposed five-yearly review of the impact of countries’ climate change actions. Under the Paris Agreement, every country must present a climate action plan in five-yearly cycles. It is supposed to be similar to the plan countries submitted in the run-up to the talks that concluded last week.

Under the Paris Agreement, the first global stocktake will happen in 2023. It will assess whether the net result of the climate actions being taken was consistent with the goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature from pre-industrial times to within 2 degree Celsius. The stocktake will help the world determine whether it needs to do more — and how much more.

While every country is required to participate in the global stocktake, the exercise will not assess whether actions of any individual country are adequate or not. It will only make an assessment of the “collective” efforts of the world. That is because the climate actions are supposed to be “nationally determined”, and nations have problems over being told by others what they should do. The stocktake will not go into who should do how much — and will rather focus on what needs to be done.

In accordance with the demands of developing countries, the stocktake will cover not only the results of actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but of actions being taken to adapt to the effects of climate change as well. It will also include an assessment of whether developed countries are offering adequate help to developing countries by providing money and technology, as mandated by the Paris Agreement.

The other thing to be included in the stocktake is the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nations-backed scientific body that reviews all published climate science in 5-6 year cycles and draws conclusions from them. IPCC reports form the scientific basis on which the world is taking climate action.

There was some debate over the frequency of the global stocktakes. Countries like India preferred a 10-year period, while the EU and some others demanded a five-year cycle. India had been arguing that five years is too short a time to assess whether the actions were having the desired impacts.

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