The Global Stock Take is a collective assessment of the Parties’ progress in capping carbon emissions to 1.5°C. Article 14 provides that the Global Stock Take should take place first in 2023 and then every five years after that. However, the Global Stock Take cannot happen if there are no modalities, procedures, or guidelines (MPGs) that dictate how it works. The MPGs are what Parties have set themselves to establish by COP24. So far, they have only agreed on one thing: that governance is an overarching issue in the GST.
Governance in the context of the GST pertains to managing the information collected from the Parties. Such information range from the Green House Gas Inventories to information provided for the reporting requirements under the Transparency Framework. Recently, the Subsidiary Body for Science and Technological Advice (SBSTA) recommended that Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA) should include the International Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) reports and assessments among the information to be considered in the GST. The addition of information from constitutive bodies enhances the GST, but also complicates potential modalities: Who bears the burden of evaluating this information? To make matters even more complicated, Parties are considering splitting the GST process into two phases: the technical phase and the political phase. Should there be two separate governing bodies for each phase?
Some parties are of the view that the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties (CMA) should evaluate the information, regardless of the phase in which the information was submitted. However, the CMA only meets once a year. The GST needs a governing body that can meet whenever there is a requirement to meet. Other parties are of the view that the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and SBSTA should evaluate the information submitted in the technical phase of the GST. However, other constitutive bodies are already reviewing information on mitigation, adaptation, and their respective modes of implementation. Asking SBI/SBSTA to then review the same information for GST seems redundant.
Discussions over technical matters are already fraught with underlying tension. This is likely because the GST touches on the Principle of Equity. The GST will reveal who is doing what and by how much, which means that Parties will know whether they are all shouldering their “fair share” of advancing the collective goal. As Parties begin considering equity and its impacts on the GST, the proposals on who should govern the GST process may become contentious.