Quantcast

Report Finds Global Climate Legislation Slowdown Since 2015 Paris Agreement

Climate
Heads of delegations to the talks that led to the Paris agreement. Presidencia de la República Mexicana / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

The place of global climate change legislation has "slowed significantly" since the Paris agreement was formulated in 2015, CBS reported Thursday

This slowdown follows decades of legislative growth, and raises potential concerns about signatories' commitments to honor their Paris pledges just as environmental activists hope to convince them to increase those commitments in climate talks taking place this week in Bonn, Germany.


According to a report published Monday 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 number of climate change related laws and policies has risen from 72 in 1997 to 1500 today.

In the years leading up to the Paris agreement, from 2009 and 2015, between 100 and 143 new laws were passed each year. But that number dropped off dramatically to 64 in 2016 and then dipped again by almost half to 36 in 2017.

The report's authors suggested that the drop off might merely mean that the past decades of increased legislation have laid a solid legal groundwork for climate action, requiring fewer new laws to be passed.

However, they also noted that the Paris agreement requires each country to set nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and to increase their emissions lowering efforts over the life of the agreement, in order to keep global temperatures well below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

"This will require countries either to introduce new laws and policies, or to revisit, revise and strengthen their existing laws and policies, to keep up with increased ambition. Countries will also have to address issues of monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRV) in order to comply with the Paris Agreement. Therefore, a sustained low level of legislative developments could be a sign for concern," the report read.

The report also called for stronger links between national laws and international targets. Of the 106 new laws passed since the Paris agreement was signed in 2016, only 28 explicitly mention the agreement or NDCs.

"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 argued.

As CBS pointed out, the report was published the same day that talks began in Bonn, Germany to continue formalizing the rules of the Paris agreement in advance of the global climate summit this December in Katowice, Poland, where the Paris rulebook will be finalized and agreed to.

If this week's talks, which conclude May 10, are successful from environmental advocates' point of view, then they could very well lead to a surge of national legislation.

At stake are questions of how to transparently monitor and assess what nations do to lower emissions and whether or not they succeed, as well as getting the 193 governments represented at the talks to admit that current commitments will not be enough to keep warming below two degrees Celsius and to up their targets accordingly, CBS reported.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Micromobility is the future of transportation in cities, but cities and investors need to plan ahead to avoid challenges. Jonny Kennaugh / Unsplash

By Carlo Ratti, Ida Auken

On the window of a bike shop in Copenhagen, a sign reads: Your next car is a bike.

Read More Show Less
An American flag waves in the wind at the Phillip Burton Federal Building in San Francisco, California on May 17 where a trial against Monsanto took place. Alva and Alberta Pilliod, were awarded more than $2 billion in damages in their lawsuit against Monsanto, though the judge in the case lowered the damage award to $87 million. JOSH EDELSON / AFP / Getty Images

By Carey Gillam

For the last five years, Chris Stevick has helped his wife Elaine in her battle against a vicious type of cancer that the couple believes was caused by Elaine's repeated use of Monsanto's Roundup herbicide around a California property the couple owned. Now the roles are reversed as Elaine must help Chris face his own cancer.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Butterfly habitats have fallen 77 percent in the last 50 years. Pixabay / Pexels

The last 50 years have been brutal for wildlife. Animals have lost their habitats and seen their numbers plummet. Now a new report from a British conservation group warns that habitat destruction and increased pesticide use has on a trajectory for an "insect apocalypse," which will have dire consequences for humans and all life on Earth, as The Guardian reported.

Read More Show Less
Six of the nineteen wind turbines which were installed on Frodsham Marsh, near the coal-powered Fiddler's Ferry power station, in Helsby, England on Feb. 7, 2017.

Sales of electric cars are surging and the world is generating more and more power from renewable sources, but it is not enough to cut greenhouse gas emissions and to stop the global climate crisis, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Read More Show Less
"Globally, we're starting to see examples of retailers moving away from plastics and throwaway packaging, but not at the urgency and scale needed to address this crisis." Greenpeace

By Jake Johnson

A Greenpeace report released Tuesday uses a hypothetical "Smart Supermarket" that has done away with environmentally damaging single-use plastics to outline a possible future in which the world's oceans and communities are free of bags, bottles, packaging and other harmful plastic pollutants.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Children are forced to wear masks due to the toxic smoke from peat land fires in Indonesia. Aulia Erlangga / CIFOR

By Irene Banos Ruiz

Pediatricians in New Delhi, India, say children's lungs are no longer pink, but black.

Our warming planet is already impacting the health of the world's children and will shape the future of an entire generation if we fail to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius (35.6°F), the 2019 Lancet Countdown Report on health and climate change shows.

Read More Show Less
Private homes surround a 20 inch gas liquids pipeline which is part of the Mariner East II project on Oct. 5, 2017 in Marchwood, Penn. Robert Nickelsberg / Getty Images

The FBI is looking into how the state of Pennsylvania granted permits for a controversial natural gas pipeline as part of a corruption investigation, the AP reports.

Read More Show Less
Three cows who were washed off their North Carolina island by Hurricane Dorian have been found alive after swimming at least two miles. Carolina Wild Ones / Facebook

Three cows who were washed off their North Carolina island by Hurricane Dorian have been found alive after swimming at least two miles, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

Read More Show Less