75% of global emissions covered by national targets

Three-quarters of the world's annual emissions of greenhouse gases are now limited by national targets, according to a new study published today (1 June).

The study, compiled by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at London School of Economics and Political Science, will be presented at the latest round of UN climate talks in Germany tomorrow.

It points out that 53 countries, including the 28 Member States of the European Union, have national targets that set either absolute or relative limits on annual emissions of greenhouse gases across their economies.

Confidence boost

Lead author of the study, Michal Nachmany, said: “With three-quarters of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions now covered by national targets, we can be more confident about the credibility of the pledges that countries will make ahead of the crucial United Nations summit in Paris in December this year.

“While collectively these pledges are unlikely to be consistent with the international goal of avoiding global warming of more than two degrees, the existence of national legislation and policies should provide the opportunity for countries to strengthen the ambition of their emissions cuts after the summit.”

The study also found that the 98 countries and the European Union together had 804 climate laws and policies at the end of 2014, compared with 426 in 2009, when a previous attempt was made in Copenhagen, Denmark, to reach an international agreement. In 1997, when the Kyoto Protocol was agreed, these countries had just 54 climate laws and policies between them.

Co-author professor Sam Fankhauser said: “Every five or so years the number of climate laws and policies across the world has doubled. This growing amount of legislation provides evidence that the world’s major emitters are taking serious steps to tackle climate change in their countries. By writing their intentions into law, the world’s leaders have shown that international climate change talks do lead to national action in the vast majority of countries.”

Carbon pricing

The study indicates that 75 countries plus the European Union have frameworks for limiting greenhouse gas emissions, while 64 countries have frameworks for adapting to the impacts of climate change. However, only 37 countries have completed a fully comprehensive national climate change risk assessment.

In addition, 47 countries, including the 28 Member States of the European Union, have introduced carbon pricing through either a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade system.

The study has been sponsored by the Global Legislators Organisation (GLOBE), and the Inter-Parliamentary Union – the world organisation of parliaments which was established in 1889.

Its results will be distributed to policy-makers around the world and presented to delegates from 190 nations that will be present at the 11-day climate change conference in Bonn. The conference aims to hammer out the components of a global climate deal ahead of the crucial COP21 talks at the end of the year.

Luke Nicholls

© Faversham House Ltd 2023 edie news articles may be copied or forwarded for individual use only. No other reproduction or distribution is permitted without prior written consent.

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie