Closing The Climate Gap: Insights From The 2023 Yearbook Of Global Climate Action

The Yearbook of Global Climate Action 2023, published by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), captures the ongoing endeavours and challenges in the realm of climate action. Released on November 29, 2023, this yearbook centers on the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action and reflects the contributions and commitments made by various stakeholders, including businesses, investors, cities, states, and regions, with a focus on the collaborative efforts to address climate change.

Closing The Climate Gap: Insights From The 2023 Yearbook Of Global Climate Action

Climate change is a borderless global challenge, with emissions impacting populations worldwide. The complex nature of this issue demands coordinated international solutions and cooperation, especially to assist developing nations in transitioning to low-carbon economies. The Paris Agreement, adopted at COP21 in December 2015, exemplifies the collaborative effort. Within the agreement, nations committed to limiting global temperature increases, aiming for well below 2 degrees Celsius and striving for the more ambitious target of 1.5 degrees Celsius, recognising the severe risks associated with exceeding this threshold.

The release of the 2023 Yearbook of Global Climate Action at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) reflects the increasing engagement of businesses, investors, cities, states, and regions in climate action. However, the report reveals a critical gap between the current pace of climate initiatives and the urgency required to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

In the words of UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiell:

“Climate action needs to accelerate everywhere,” urging a transformative shift in systems, from energy and transport to social and ecological structures.

Yearbook of Global Climate Action 2023: Progress and challenges charted

As the global community intensifies its efforts to combat climate change, notable progress has been made, evidenced by the growing engagement on platforms like the Global Climate Action Portal. With over 32,000 registered actors, the momentum is building.

Despite commendable progress in climate action, the 2023 Yearbook underscores the imperative for intensified efforts to address the escalating climate crisis. The Global Climate Action Portal’s remarkable growth, with over 32,000 registered actors, signifies a notable 6% increase since 2022 and an impressive sixfold surge since 2015. This surge in participation reflects a global acknowledgment of the climate challenge.

However, High-Level Champions Mahmoud Mohieldin and Razan Al Mubarak, in their foreword, articulate a pressing need for a more robust response in this decade. They stress the importance of effective implementation, aligning climate initiatives with the Sustainable Development Goals to foster holistic and impactful outcomes on a global scale.

In the pursuit of accelerated climate action, the Yearbook highlights key advancements that indicate a positive trajectory. Noteworthy among these are heightened support for climate-resilient cities, underlining a commitment to fortifying urban areas against the impacts of climate change.

Increased financial mobilisation for marginalised groups, including Indigenous Peoples, signifies a concerted effort to ensure that vulnerable populations receive the necessary resources for adaptation and mitigation. The development of a handbook for net-zero policy alignment and a report on unlocking climate financing in Africa reflects a strategic focus on providing practical tools and solutions to guide diverse stakeholders in aligning their policies with ambitious climate goals.

Yearbook of Global Climate Action 2023 focusses on COP28 global stocktake

The 2023 Yearbook places significant emphasis on the inaugural global stocktake at COP28 in Dubai, a pivotal event aimed at upholding the commitment to limit long-term global temperature rises to 1.5C. Initially agreed upon in Paris in 2015 by nearly 200 countries, the 1.5C target is deemed critical by the UN’s climate body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), to mitigate the most detrimental impacts of climate change.

Despite current warming standing at approximately 1.1C or 1.2C compared to pre-industrial times, estimates suggest the world is heading toward a warming of 2.4C to 2.7C by 2100, intensifying the urgency to achieve the 1.5C goal. The global stocktake serves as a platform for governments and stakeholders to collectively assess progress towards Paris Agreement goals, highlighting both achievements and shortcomings.

This assessment involves insights from non-Party stakeholders, integral to the conclusion of the global stocktake. Their perspectives underscore the necessity for aligning climate action with the 1.5 degrees Celsius target, leveraging scalable opportunities, recognizing the pivotal role of non-Party stakeholders, ensuring credibility of commitments, fostering international cooperation guided by climate justice, breaking silos in climate action, and urgently facilitating fair finance flows. As the world grapples with the narrowing window to achieve the 1.5C limit, the global stocktake becomes a crucial juncture to recalibrate and strengthen climate ambitions.

As Simon Stiell asserts, the response to the stocktake must be “renewed ambition and accelerated action,” charting a course to 2030 that restrains global warming and enhances resilience. The 2023 Yearbook serves as a compass, guiding global efforts toward a sustainable and climate-resilient future.