Global Stocktake synthesis report reveals fossil fuel phaseout consensus, but draws African concerns

The recent synthesis report for the Global Stocktake suggests growing agreement on the necessity of fossil fuel phaseouts.

However, African negotiators have expressed their dissatisfaction with the report’s approach to equity and differentiation, as well as its treatment of finance and technology transfer.

One of the central focus areas at this year’s COP will be the global stocktake, which essentially serves as a collective progress report on the Paris Agreement’s goals.

It evaluates mitigation, adaptation, and means of implementation, including finance, while also addressing issues like loss and damage and response measures.

This year’s stocktake, the first under the Paris Agreement, will inform subsequent commitments by Parties in the form of Nationally Determined Contributions.

On September 8, the co-facilitators of the technical dialogue on the global stocktake released a synthesis report based on inputs received and ongoing discussions.

The report is contentious not only because it touches on various complex Paris Agreement issues but also because it summarizes progress since the Agreement’s inception.

Contentious debates around framing specific points, emphasis, primary challenges, and the goals of the Paris Agreement have been ongoing.

The report highlights 17 technical findings, indicating that more work is needed despite some progress. Notably, it asserts that Parties are not on track to achieve the Paris Agreement’s long-term goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C, reinforcing this as the Agreement’s primary objective.

It also emphasizes the need to scale up renewable energy and phase out all unabated fossil fuels, which aligns with the EU’s stance and may shape negotiations.

Experts believe this inclusion in a key United Nations (UN) document could have a pivotal impact on the talks, a sentiment echoed by COP26 President Alok Sharma, who welcomed the report’s call for renewable energy expansion and fossil fuel phaseout.

However, African representatives have raised concerns about the report’s failure to address fundamental issues.

The African Group of Negotiators (AGN) Chair, Ephraim Mwepya Shitima, highlighted the importance of principles like the right to sustainable development and just transitions.

The AGN stressed the need for fair consideration of developing countries, particularly those with limited progress towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals.

They also called for addressing the lack of finance and technology transfer for a just transition, aligning with the Paris Agreement’s financial goals.

Shitima criticized the report for not adequately reflecting differentiation between countries and their capabilities and for insufficiently addressing adaptation finance.

The AGN believes the report could have provided clearer recommendations concerning the global financial architecture.

Shitima expressed the group’s hope that the next phase of the Global Stocktake will facilitate objective and constructive discussions to enhance climate action and support, promoting the goals of the Paris Agreement.

By African Climate Wire

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