013 How to Track Climate Laws of the World

16 minutes

One hundred and forty-four countries have ratified the Paris Climate Agreement, and 143 of them say they'll stay-in-it – even if Donald Trump pulls the United States out. But staying in and delivering what you stayed in to do are two different things. One way to track progress is to track laws, and a newly-updated database tracks over 1200 of them.

11 May 2017 | The United States may be backsliding on climate under President Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled House and Senate, but the country still has 8 federal laws related to climate change and 6 climate policies; and hundreds of lawsuits are going on, including 54 under the Clean Air Act alone.

Those numbers come from two databases: “Climate Change Laws of the World”, housed at the London School of Economics, and “US Climate Change Litigation”, housed at Colombia University.

Together, they track more than 1,200 climate change or climate change-relevant laws worldwide – up from a mere 60 in 1997, when the Kyoto Protocol came into force. The LSE has spent the last few months combing through the data, and published their findings on May 9.

Laws as Proxy for Progress

Countries won't officially take stock of their progress under the Paris Agreement until 2023, when they sit down and see who did what and how everyone can do more, but at this point we don't even know exactly what activities countries will be taking stock of. 

That “stocktaking” is one of the things negotiators are negotiating this week and next in Bonn, Germany, but for now we just have proxies – like renewable-energy growth, rates of deforestation, and of course legal frameworks.

More episodes from Bionic Planet: Reversing Climate Change by Restoring Nature

77 | Where Does Healthy Critique End and Cynical Denial Begin?

The science-denial movement delayed action on climate change for decades, and now the tropes they used are creeping into coverage of emerging climate …

76 | Six Lessons from 45 Years of Natural Climate Solutions

When popular media get natural climate solutions wrong, it’s usually because they’re struggling to understand complex mechanisms that have evolved …

75 l Coverage of Climate Solutions Suffer the Same Fate as Coverage of Climate Science?

News outlets are finally allocating resources to coverage of climate solutions, and most reporters are trying to get these complex issues right. …

074 |Why the Global South Needs Voluntary Carbon Markets

We kick off Season Seven with a look at the  Voluntary Carbon Market Global Dialogue and the six keys to making sure voluntary carbon markets work …

073 | Why the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests may be More than Blah Blah, with Frances Seymour

A conversation with WRI Senior Fellow Frances Seymour, who says there's plenty of reason to believe the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and …

How you can listen to this podcast

You can listen to episodes right here on the website, or if you prefer, in a podcast app. Listening in an app makes it easier to keep track of what you’ve already heard, listen without using your data plan and many other conveniences.

Recommended apps
Start listening to 78 | Helping Farmers Save Forests in Guatemala's Caribbean Coast
39:07
Start listening to 78 | Helping Farmers Save Forests in Guatemala's Caribbean Coast
39:07