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Domestic climate leadership leads to greater progress on global stage, report argues

06 August 2013
Domestic climate leadership leads to greater progress on global stage, report argues

LONDON: Strong links between national legislation and the pathway towards an ambitious global climate deal are brought to light in a new report, which suggests there is a need for national groups and legislators to quicken global climate progress.

The report, National climate change legislation – the key to more ambitious international agreements? by GLOBE International and CDKN (The Climate & Development Knowledge Network), offers evidence of the positive correlation between countries with national climate legislation and those who strongly support a global climate deal, as a case for more national laws and policies to drive global climate action.

The authors demonstrate how countries with lively climate policy debates such as Mexico, the UK and South Korea, have enacted robust domestic targets – and later pursued collaborative global action.

Low carbon opportunity

Three motivations for such patterns are summarized in the report as competitiveness, confidence and knowledge. Authors write: “If a country takes action to price carbon, it will be motivated to encourage others to follow suit to reduce any impacts from competition."

The report continues: "The process of developing and passing domestic legislation is important for informing and shaping a country’s position at the international negotiations. By examining options and developing the most nationally appropriate legislation, countries develop an understanding of the costs of different levels of ambition, the costs of inaction and the extent of the opportunities available through low-carbon investment and promoting resilience.”

International climate deal

The report suggests that national legislation could even underpin an “outcome with legal force” in 2015 under the Durban Platform, the negotiating track within the UNFCCC that countries are using to work towards agreeing a climate deal by 2015.

Authors conclude the report by urging national governments to:

  • create cross-party parliamentary climate groups, supported by a secretariat
  • engage with legislators around the UNFCCC meetings
  • support international processes

Damian Ryan, The Climate Group’s Senior Policy Manager, remarked: “This report is a timely reminder that when it comes to addressing climate change, action begins at home. While the world still needs a global deal to provide an international framework for maximizing and coordinating country efforts, the fact remains that it is in the self-interest of governments and business to proactively and independently implement ambitious climate action at the national level.

"If national legislators require any further motivation they should look to their counterparts at the regional for inspiration. From California and South Australia to Brittany and Quebec, regional and sub-national governments have already introduced some of the most progressive climate policy and legislation in the world.”

Read the CDKN and GLOBE report

Read our report: Clean revolution leadership from the world's states and regions

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