The world’s response to climate change has been weak, but more than nothing. There are hundreds of climate change laws in countries around the world – but how good are they at tackling the problem? We wanted to find out how well these laws are working. We used a database with information about climate laws in 133 countries across the globe.

We found that each new law reduces yearly carbon dioxide emissions by an average of 0.8% in the first 3 years, and 1.8% in the longer term. Some types of laws are better than others at reducing emissions. How well a country can implement a new law is also important! Some are much better at implementing laws, which means they are more likely to reduce emissions. We need to work together to create stronger laws to solve this global problem.

This article, which is aimed at school students and teachers, has been adapted from the journal paper Reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from national climate legislation

Published by Science Journal for Kids, 2021.

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