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All Paris Agreement Signatories Now Have at Least One Climate Change Policy

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All Paris Agreement Signatories Now Have at Least One Climate Change Policy
The Eiffel Tower shined green on November 2016 to celebrate the Paris agreement's entry into force. U.S. Department of State / Flickr

A new report highlights the significance of the Paris climate agreement in pushing global climate action.

All of the 197 signatories of the landmark accord now have at least one national law or policy on climate change, an analysis published Monday by the London School of Economics (LSE) found.


The Global trends in climate change legislation and litigation: 2018 snapshot shows there are now more than 1,500 national climate change laws and policies worldwide, with 106 introduced since the Paris agreement was signed in December 2015.

"Of the 106 new laws and policies passed since the Paris agreement was reached, 28 explicitly reference the agreement," the report states. "Further analyses will be required to determine if these new laws and policies are consistent with the Paris agreement and countries' nationally determined contributions. Alignment between national and international goals will be pivotal to meeting the Paris targets."

The report, from researchers at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy at LSE, was released Monday as representatives of 193 governments meet at the two-week Bonn Climate Change Conference in Germany. The summit is aimed at increasing global action to cut carbon emissions and speeding up progress on the Paris agreement to keep global temperature rise this century well below 2°C.

The report's authors pointed out, "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."

Also in the analysis, the researchers identified "a new wave" of climate change-related lawsuits and a number of "strategic" cases that "could have significant impact in holding governments and greenhouse gas emitters accountable for climate change."

The are now about 1,000 of climate-related lawsuits, with some cases focused on forcing courts to rule on the consistency of countries' actions with the Paris agreement. For instance, Greenpeace Nordic and the Nature and Youth environmental group sued Norway in November. The plaintiffs alleged that the government is contravening the Paris agreement and has failed to abide by its constitutional obligation to safeguard the environment for future generations.

According to the LSE report, more than 800 of the 1,000 climate-related cases stem from the U.S., including roughly a dozen lawsuits filed directly against the Trump administration's rollbacks of climate regulation.

President Trump, who does not believe in climate change and is ramping up development in fossil fuels, controversially announced his intention withdraw from the Paris agreement, making the U.S. the only signatory in opposition.

U.S. cases also include efforts from San Francisco, Oakland and New York City that have filed lawsuits against major fossil fuel companies, alleging they knew about the threat of climate change for decades but concealed information about it.

On the other hand, the researchers also determined that in the U.S., "industry, conservative NGOs and others have brought suits to support climate change deregulation, reduce climate protections generally or at the project level, and target climate protection supporters."

A plume of smoke from wildfires burning in the Angeles National Forest is seen from downtown Los Angeles on Aug. 29, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

California is bracing for rare January wildfires this week amid damaging Santa Ana winds coupled with unusually hot and dry winter weather.

High winds, gusting up to 80- to 90 miles per hour in some parts of the state, are expected to last through Wednesday evening. Nearly the entire state has been in a drought for months, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, which, alongside summerlike temperatures, has left vegetation dry and flammable.

Utilities Southern California Edison and PG&E, which serves the central and northern portions of the state, warned it may preemptively shut off power to hundreds of thousands of customers to reduce the risk of electrical fires sparked by trees and branches falling on live power lines. The rare January fire conditions come on the heels of the worst wildfire season ever recorded in California, as climate change exacerbates the factors causing fires to be more frequent and severe.

California is also experiencing the most severe surge of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with hospitals and ICUs over capacity and a stay-at-home order in place. Wildfire smoke can increase the risk of adverse health effects due to COVID, and evacuations forcing people to crowd into shelters could further spread the virus.

As reported by AccuWeather:

In the atmosphere, air flows from high to low pressure. The setup into Wednesday is like having two giant atmospheric fans working as a team with one pulling and the other pushing the air in the same direction.
Normally, mountains to the north and east of Los Angeles would protect the downtown which sits in a basin. However, with the assistance of the offshore storm, there will be areas of gusty winds even in the L.A. Basin. The winds may get strong enough in parts of the basin to break tree limbs and lead to sporadic power outages and sparks that could ignite fires.
"Typically, Santa Ana winds stay out of downtown Los Angeles and the L.A. Basin, but this time, conditions may set up just right to bring 30- to 40-mph wind gusts even in those typically calm condition areas," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll.

For a deeper dive:

AP, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Weather Channel, AccuWeather, New York Times, Slideshow: New York Times; Climate Signals Background: Wildfires, 2020 Western wildfire season

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, sign up for daily Hot News, and visit their news site, Nexus Media News.

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