Three-quarters of global GHG emissions covered by targets

2nd June 2015

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Jane Shadforth

The number of laws and policies to limit climate change has nearly doubled since the Copenhagen climate talks in 2009, according to new research.

The findings came in a study from the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment. It covers 98 countries and the 28 member states of the EU, which together are responsible for 93% of global emissions.

At the end of 2014, these countries had implemented a total 804 climate laws and policies, up from 426 in 2009. In 1997, when the Kyoto protocol was agreed, these countries had just 54 climate laws and policies between them, the researchers said.

45 countries, including the EU as a block have economy-wide targets to reduce emissions. Together they account for over 75% of global emissions, the study found.

The progress on climate change legislation since the Copenhagen talks was welcomed by UNFCCC executive secretary Christiana Figueres, who said it would ensure a firm foundation for a new international agreement on climate change.

"Increasingly strong and co-ordinated domestic policies, laws and incentives encourage more ambitious climate action now and in the immediate future," she said.

The study is being presented to delegates at the latest UN climate change negotiations in Bonn which began yesterday.

The research also found:

  • 75 countries and the EU have strategies for limiting greenhouse-gas emissions, while 64 countries have frameworks for adapting to the impacts of climate change.
  • 47 countries, including those in the EU, have introduced carbon pricing through either a tax or a cap-and-trade system.
  • 37 countries have completed a fully comprehensive national climate change risk assessment. In 51 countries, adaptation plans do not go beyond the reporting requirements in the national communications to the UNFCCC. These are mainly the countries most vulnerable to climate change, the research found.

The study was sponsored by the global legislators organisation GLOBE International and the Inter-parliamentary Union. Graham Stuart, chairman of GLOBE International and a Conservative MP, said one way that legislators could immediately improve the chances of successful climate change negotiations is to ratify the Doha amendment.

This was adopted in December 2012 and set targets for the second period of the Kyoto protocol, from 20123to 2020. However, only 28 countries have ratified the amendment out of 144 required for it to enter into force, according to Stuart.

"Ratifying the Doha amendment is a clear indication of national intent and commitment. It would establish the political credibility required for another legally binding climate agreement in Paris," he said.


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