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Last updateMar, 27 Jan 2015 11am

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Study reveals rapid advance of national climate change laws

Climate change laws - The study findings of the new edition of the GLOBE Climate Legislation show that much of the substantive progress on legislative activity on climate change in 2013 took place in emerging economies, including China and Mexico, which will provide the motor of global economic growth in the coming decades.

The study, covering 66 countries which are responsible for 88 percent of global carbon emissions, showed that almost 500 national climate laws have been passed in the 66 countries, while 64 of 66 countries have progressed or are progressing significant climate and/or energy-related legislation.

According to a statement, released Thursday by the UN Climate Change secretariat, the study sets out a series of politically significant findings that will have a direct bearing on success of the international negotiations.

Legislators will also consider how national laws can be recognised within a 2015 international climate change agreement.

It notes that while current national legislation does not yet add up to what needs to be done to avoid dangerous climate change, it is putting in place the mechanisms to measure, report and verify emissions, a pre-requisite for a credible global climate treaty.

It said: “It is no exaggeration to say that the clean revolution we need is being carried forward by legislation. Domestic legislation is critical because it is the linchpin between action on the ground and the international agreement.

'At the national level, it is clear that when countries enact clean energy policies, investment follows. At the international level, it is equally clear that domestic legislation opens the political space for international agreements and facilitates overall ambition,” Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework on Climate Change(UNFCCC), Christiana Figueres, stated Thursday.

The study reveals that in Sub-Saharan Africa: Kenya adopted 2013-2017 Climate Change Action Plan; Mozambique adopted 2013-2025 National Strategy for Climate Change; Tanzania passed its National Strategy on REDD ; Nigeria’s Legislative Council approved the adoption of a National Climate Change Policy and Response Strategy.

Two countries, however, began processes to reverse legislation: Following an election, the new Australian government has proposed to repeal aspects of the Clean Energy Act in 2014; while Japan announced a lowering of its ambition on climate change in response to its reduced reliance on nuclear energy after the tsunami and resulting accident at Fukushima.

“Understanding this message from the Study and embracing it in how major international processes and institutions work between now and Paris 2015 will be critical. We must see more countries develop their own national climate change laws so that when governments sit down in 2015 they will do so in very different political conditions to when they did in Copenhagen,” President of the Global Legislators Organisation, John Gummer, Lord
Deben, said.

“The Partnership for Climate Legislation will support legislators across party political lines to advance climate change-related legislation. The Partnership will provide a combination of political, analytical and administrative capacity.  It will also serve as a platform where
legislators from across the world can meet, discuss common barriers, issues and successes and share information about best legislative practice”.

Whilst the legislative approach often differs (whether directly inspired by climate change, energy efficiency, energy security or competitiveness), national legislation is achieving similar results -- improved energy security, greater resource-efficiency and cleaner, lower carbon economic growth, the study says.

Pana 28/02/2014