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New opinion article in PLOS Climate on leveraging the Global Stocktake for effective sectoral climate governance


A new opinion article from a team of NDC ASPECTS partners led by Harro van Asselt has been published in the PLOS Climate journal. The article suggests to leverage the Global Stocktake (GST) under the Paris Agreement for promoting effective sectoral climate governance.

The first Global Stocktake (GST) is due to conclude at the next United Nations climate conference in the United Arab Emirates at the end of 2023. The main goal of this process is to feed into a new round of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) by Parties to the Agreement for 2035. In addition, the GST is aimed at identifying opportunities for strengthening international cooperation to achieve the Paris goals.

Sectoral systems differ substantially in their political economies, technologies, financing structures, industrial composition, and international connectedness. Taking these differences into account will help tailor international cooperation to make it more effective. The article outlines how the Global Stocktake could help advance sectoral international cooperation both within the intergovernmental process under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and in terms of action that can be taken beyond the UNFCCC process.

For the UNFCCC process, the article suggests that the GST outcome should:

  • define sector-specific international decarbonization roadmaps, including indications of when each sector should achieve zero or net-zero emissions globally, as well as appropriately differentiated interim emission reduction milestones;
  • request countries to break their NDCs down to the sector level to better connect the NDCs to national policymakers and implementers in specific sectors, and to identify sector-specific areas for international cooperation;
  • call for an early review and revision of the modalities, procedures, and guidelines for the Paris Agreement’s Enhanced Transparency Framework to better take into account sectoral details.

For action beyond the UNFCCC process, the article suggests that the GST outcome should:

  • call on other international organizations and processes, such as the International Maritime Organization and the International Civil Aviation Organization, to take further action to strengthen sectoral mitigation ambition to achieve the Paris goals;
  • call on countries and other actors to broaden and deepen cooperative initiatives, in particular by creating clear follow-up and review processes to show they are on track.

We already know from existing studies that our collective climate change ambition is insufficient and we are not even on track to implementing the insufficient pledges. We therefore do not need the GST to result in another unspecific call for urgency. Parties to the Paris Agreement should use the GST to plant the seeds for the development of concrete sectoral decarbonisation roadmaps that could guide international cooperation in the years to come. 

More details can be found in the open access article which is available in: