75% of global emissions already covered by national targets

Author:
Beth Woodthorpe-Evans
Reading time: 4 minutes
2 June 2015

LONDON: A new study published to coincide with the latest round of United Nations climate negotiations states that three-quarters of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are now limited by national targets.

The 2015 Global Climate Legislation Study from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) analyzes the climate policies of 98 countries as well as the European Union, which together represent 93% of global emissions. 

By the end of last year, the 99 countries - which includes the world's top 50 carbon emitters - put forward a total of 804 climate laws and policies, covering 75% of global emissions. This compares to 426 laws in 2009, when UN climate talks in Copenhagen was unsuccessful in delivering an agreement.

Most notably, the research found that 75 of the countries, along with the European Union, have prepared frameworks for limiting GHG emissions, and 64 countries have adaptation measures for coping with the impacts of climate change.

But while 47 countries including the European Union have introduced carbon pricing through either a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade system, only 37 countries have completed a comprehensive national climate change risk assessment.

“It is promising to see the number of flagship legal frameworks grow and cover such an extensive sum of global emissions.” Mark Kenber, CEO of The Climate Group said of the report.

“The report underlines the progress made by national governments in setting targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, showing us that unified action is getting us closer to our total goal. It also sends a promising signal to industry leaders on how major economies are committed to a low carbon future.

The study serves as a resource tool for national climate change legislators to identify matters to be addressed in their blueprint for climate action, ahead of the COP21 talks in Paris later this year where a global climate deal is expected to be agreed.

So far several countries have submitted their national climate targets, which are known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), and provide an early indication of what a deal could look like in Paris.

Current INDCs are only baseline targets, and Paris must therefore be an important moment in closing the gap for preventing global temperatures rising above 2 degrees Celsius by providing the right national legislation to reinforce efforts for reducing emissions in the post-2015 period.

“The report is an important step to holding governments accountable to their climate action pledges and strengthening INDCs. With raised ambition, they can be engines of sustainable growth for low carbon, clean energy economies.” Mark Kenber added.

The report is set to be presented to national legislators at the currently on-going inter-sessional UN climate negotiations in Bonn, Germany.

Two more UNFCCC meetings are planned thereafter in September and October, before COP21 takes place in December.

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