All countries in the Paris Agreement now have policies to fight climate change

The London School of Economics has found that 197 countries which signed the landmark Paris Agreement now have at least one law in place to limit global temperatures.

The new research is a ‘snapshot’ into global trends on climate legislation and shows the significant uptake in new laws and rules over the past 20 years.

According to the researchers, there are now more than 1,500 climate laws and policies in place around the world. Of these, 106 were introduced since the Paris Agreement was signed in December 2015.

“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,” write the authors, Dr Michal Nachmany and Dr Joana Setzer.

The number of new laws designed to reduce global temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsisus has shot up from a mere 72 in 1997 when the original Kyoto Protocol was signed. This 20-fold increase is likely to have helped the Paris Agreement come into being with many countries already taking action on the domestic level. The UK’s legally binding Climate Change Act, signed in 2008, is an early example of successful legislation on the issue.

The research also shines a light on the amount of new climate change related litigation. The estimated number of court cases is now at over 1,000, with the United States being responsible for 800 of these. Many of these cases have been launched in the past 18 months as a response to the Trump administration’s rolling back of climate regulations, including its intention to leave the Paris accord.

A number of major cities, such as San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York, have all filed lawsuits against fossil fuel companies for their role in contributing to climate change.

“New cases have started forcing courts to rule on the consistency of countries’ actions with the Paris Agreement,” the report states, emboldening activists to hold governments to account on climate action.

“The judiciary is increasingly exposed to climate change arguments in cases where, until recently, the environmental argument would not have been framed in those terms.”

Source: LSE

 Photo Credit: Samantha Sophia

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