Equity in the Global Stocktake – Good Text. Let’s Improve It, Not Lose It

6 December 2018

Fortunately, the Saudis aren’t in charge of the Global Stocktake. ECO notes this because yesterday Saudi Arabia, speaking for the Arab Group, called for the term “ambition mechanism” to be deleted from the GST text. Why? Because apparently this would pre-judge the outcome of the GST (see also, Fossil of the Day). As if the whole point of the GST wasn’t to drive the ambition mechanism.

In any case, this view clearly isn’t shared by all developing countries, many of whom are submitting good and useful text. Here are some nice examples:

  • “Equity will inform how Parties will consider fairness and ambition,”The explicit statement makes it clear that equity isn’t just a matter of process, but rather comes down to how parties perceive that they are making appropriately ambitious contributions to the global transition to climate resilient, low carbon societies.
  • The GST will “identify gaps in collective progress and how they could be addressed in the light of equity and the best available science, as well as lessons learned and good practices.”This one makes it crystal clear that we’re talking operational text here, and that the GST would result in concrete outputs that Parties take home and apply to increase their ambition over time €“ the core point of the ambition mechanism.

But the real win, in ECO’s view, is that the inputs into the GST “could include qualitative and quantitative information, [for example indicative and non-prescriptive reference benchmarks, relating to equity,] as voluntarily provided by parties in their nationally determined contributions.”The text would be even more of a win without the brackets and ECO thinks that Parties shouldn’t be afraid of the bracketed text: after all, it’s only about information they themselves provide, if they chose to.

All told, the current text includes some solid options, which would give us real room to grow, not only in the first, but also in subsequent GSTs, as we learn how to do meaningful equity assessments. ECO still has hope that, at the end of the day, the GST isn’t going to be reduced to another pro-forma exercise. Although, judging by some interventions today, this is still a real possibility. We shall see.

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