The sixth in a series of analysis, conducted by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science, surveying the landscape of global climate change legislation found a marked uptick in the number of countries deploying legal tools to support commitments made in the Paris climate accord formed in 2015, the total amount of laws concerning climate-change up twentyfold over the course of the last two decades. The study defines climate and climate-related laws according a broad definition laid out in past years’ reports, covering legislation in the areas of energy, transport, land use, and climate resilience, addressing the most critical producers of carbon and greenhouse emissions as they prove applicable.

Despite the rise in countries enacting legislation, rising to 164 from 99 in 2015, the overall pace of new legislation has slowed, with the annual rate dropping from 100 new laws in 2009-2013 to only 40 new laws in 2016. Noting that this reduction is a natural progression, reflecting the considerable progress already made with previous legislation, the study’s authors perceptively expanded their focus to include climate change litigation, covering some 25 jurisdictions across the globe—addressing how the world’s governments are enforcing these laws. Further seeking to gain a comprehensive understanding of the legal frontier in the fight to reduce the impact of climate change, the study’s authors also account for how lower levels of government are proceeding. By assessing sub-national initiatives at regional levels, state, provincial, and municipal, the study’s authors provide data on a level which experts note is equally crucial to realizing the grand objectives set forth in the crucial national efforts to improve sustainability.

The study’s results offer reassuring proof of the progress being made, but also serves as a reminder of the necessity of persistence and vigilant enforcement, for without active legislation and litigation, the grand hopes of the Paris accords’ dire mission will fail to materialize.

Read the complete study at the Grantham Research Institute’s website and peruse the exhaustive database complied by the study’s authors of world climate legislation.

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