Over 1,200 Laws to Combat Climate Change

Between 2009 and 2013, some 100 laws a year were passed as more developing nations joined the global campaign against climate change
The Paris Agreement aims to cap the planet's warming at below 2°C by phasing out fossil fuels.
The Paris Agreement aims to cap the planet's warming at below 2°C by phasing out fossil fuels.

Nations around the world have adopted more than 1,200 laws to curb climate change, up from about 60 two decades ago, which is a sign of widening efforts to limit rising temperatures, a study showed on Tuesday.

"Most countries have a legal basis on which future action can be built," Patricia Espinosa, the UN's climate change chief, told a webcast news conference of the findings issued at an international meeting on climate change (May 8-18) in Bonn, Germany.

Espinosa said the findings were "cause for optimism", adding that laws were one yardstick for tracking action on global warming alongside others such as investment in renewable energy or backing for a 2015 climate agreement ratified by 144 nations, Reuters reported.

The study, by the London School of Economics, reviewed laws and executive policies in 164 nations, ranging from national cuts in greenhouse gases to curbs in emissions in sectors such as transport, power generation or industry.

Forty-seven laws had been added since world leaders adopted a Paris Agreement to combat climate change in late 2015, a slowdown from a previous peak of about 100 a year around 2009-13 when many developed nations passed laws.

US President Donald Trump doubts that climate change has a human cause and is considering pulling out of the Paris Agreement but legislation is often complicated to undo.

"If you have that big body of 1,200 laws, it is hard to reverse," Samuel Fankhauser, co-director of the LSE's Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, told the news conference.

The US delegation at the Bonn climate meeting is "much smaller" than in the past, according to Climate Change News. This is while Chinese President Xi Jinping, whose country is the world's top emitter of carbon dioxide, has vowed to protect the Paris Agreement, BBC News reported.

The study said developing nations were legislating more but there were many gaps. Nations such as Comoros, Sudan and Somalia had no climate laws.

"We don't want weaklings in the chain," said Martin Chungong, secretary-general of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. He urged all countries to adopt laws that help limit downpours, heatwaves and rising sea levels.

  Priority for Iran

For Iran, tackling climate change is crucial because of its impacts on water resources and forests, both of which have suffered greatly as a result of increasing global temperatures.

According to Iran’s Meteorological Organization, the country’s greenhouse gas emissions have increased by 3% in the past decade and the average temperature has risen by 1.8 degrees Celsius since 1750, considerably higher than the global average of 1.1°C.  A climate change roadmap unveiled by the government in 2016 states the need for significant policy reform in the energy sector, which is responsible for over 90% of Iran’s greenhouse gas emissions. However, policy reforms must also be accompanied by modern technology, something the European Union said last month it would help Iran with.

The government in Tehran has pledged to reduce its carbon emissions by 4% based on the business-as-usual scenario by 2030. Given sufficient financial aid, Iran says it can reduce its emissions by a further 8%.


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