New study reveals all countries that have signed or ratified the Paris Agreement have at least one national law or policy on climate change

All of the 197 countries, nations and territories that have signed or ratified the Paris Agreement now have at least one national law or policy on climate change, according to an analysis published today (30 April 2018) by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

The report on ‘Global trends in climate change legislation and litigation: 2018 snapshot’ also points out that there are now more than 1500 national climate change laws and policies worldwide, of which 106 have been created since the Paris Agreement was reached in late 2015.

The report is being published on the first day of a two-week meeting of countries in Bonn, Germany, as part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The discussions include an assessment of the extent to which the collective actions of countries is consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

The new report states: “Of the 106 new laws and policies passed since the Paris Agreement was reached, 28 explicitly reference the Agreement. Further analyses will be required to determine if these new laws and policies are consistent with the Paris Agreement and countries’ nationally determined contributions. Alignment between national and international goals will be pivotal to meeting the Paris targets”.

It adds: “The ability to import internationally declared targets into actionable national laws and policies, and to translate those targets into action, will have a great impact on the success of the Paris Agreement”.

The report also concludes that “a new wave of strategic legal test cases linking climate and rights is emerging”. It adds: “They make up a small number of the 1,000 climate court cases now identified but could have significant impact in holding governments and greenhouse gas emitters accountable for climate change”.

The authors of the report, Dr Michal Nachmany and Dr Joana Setzer, define strategic cases as those that “aim to have impact beyond their individual case in the court room” including ‘test cases’ or ‘impact litigation’. The report states: “They are ‘strategic’ because they are being used as a mechanism for climate governance. They are used to encourage or force action and to hold governments and corporations to account”.

The report also highlights the importance of litigation in relation to the Paris Agreement. It states: “New cases have started forcing courts to rule on the consistency of countries’ actions with the Paris Agreement”.

The findings on litigation are based on an analysis of 276 court cases in 25 national courts, not including the United States. About three-quarters (77%) of cases are primarily concerned with actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and 40% of cases are brought on behalf of companies. 

For more information about this media release and a copy of the report, please contact Bob Ward on +44 (0) 7811 320346 or r.e.ward@lse.ac.uk

 

NOTES FOR EDITORS

  1. The analysis of climate change laws and policies draws on an online database of global legislation maintained by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and the Sabin Center on Climate Change Law at the
    Columbia Law School. The database is available at: http://www.lse.ac.uk/GranthamInstitute/legislation/.
  2. The ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (http://www.cccep.ac.uk/) is hosted by the University of Leeds and the London School of Economics and Political Science. It is funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (http://www.esrc.ac.uk/). The Centre’s mission is to advance public and private action on climate change through rigorous, innovative research.
  3. The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment (http://www.lse.ac.uk/grantham) was launched at the London School of Economics and Political Science in October 2008. It is funded by The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment (http://www.granthamfoundation.org/).

 

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