In a recent scientific publication for the journal Climate Policy, Romain Weikmans and Aarti Gupta study an essential question about the relationship between transparency and climate ambition, namely whether countries adhere to the mandatory transparency requirements of the UNFCCC. By studying the expert reviews and analyses that the UNFCCC provides about country transparency reports, Weikmans and Gupta generate a set of ‘Transparency Adherence Indices’ that synthesize the nature and extent of developed and developing country engagement with the UNFCCC’s reporting requirements. Their findings point to an interesting hypothesis: could it be that, rather than transparency stimulating ambition, ambition stimulates more transparency? If this is the case, does transparency follow, rather than shape, political developments?
Here are the authors key policy insights:
- The UNFCCC and its 2015 Paris Agreement call for ever greater climate transparency from all countries.
- We develop ‘Transparency Adherence Indices’ that reveal frequency of engagement and adherence to reporting requirements of both developed and developing countries.
- Our analysis shows very high levels of participation in transparency arrangements by developed country Parties, with the exceptions of Ukraine and the United States of America.
- The level of participation of developing country Parties is relatively low, especially among Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States.
- Further research to explain the range of observed adherence patterns is important, in light of the Paris Agreement’s requirements for enhanced transparency from all.
- The assumed link between enhanced transparency and climate action needs further analysis.