The 2015 Paris Agreement calls for a “pledge-and-review” approach to collective climate action with an “enhanced transparency framework” as a key pillar of the agreement. By making visible who is doing what, transparency is widely assumed to be vital to holding countries to account and building trust.

The authors explore whether transparency is generating such effects in this context, by developing and applying an analytical framework to examine the link between transparency and accountability. They find that the scope and practices of climate transparency reflect (rather than necessarily reduce) broader conflicts accountability, particularly with regard to responsibility and burden sharing for ambitious climate action.

The conclusions suggest that the transformative promise of transparency needs to be reconsidered in this light.

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