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Transparency requirements under the Paris Agreement and their (un)likely impact on strengthening the ambition of nationally determined contributions (NDCs)

Weikmans, Romain, Harro van Asselt, J. Timmons Roberts. 2019. Transparency requirements under the Paris Agreement and their (un)likely impact on strengthening the ambition of nationally determined contributions (NDCs). Climate Policy. Online first

Abstract

How will the Paris Agreement drive countries to address climate change? One expectation of the Agreement is that transparency will stimulate countries to increase the ambition of their pledges by revealing information on Parties’ climate efforts. To this end, the Agreement introduced a new ‘enhanced transparency framework’ (ETF) to report and review information on Parties’ greenhouse gas emissions, progress made in implementing and achieving nationally determined contributions (NDCs), their adaptation actions, and the financial, technological and capacity-building support needed, received and provided to developing country Parties. However, this relationship between transparency and progressive ambition over time remains largely untested. In this article, we first outline several pathways through which increased transparency could potentially lead to increased ambition. These pathways notably depend on the availability of comparable, complete and timely information on the performance of Parties. By reviewing the experience with past and existing transparency arrangements, we identify four types of challenges that will likely pose barriers to the generation of such information by the ETF, and suggest some efforts that might address these challenges to support greater ambition in future rounds of NDCs.

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