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Architectures and Agency in the Caribbean
Edited by Mona Hymel, Larry Kreiser, Janet E. Milne and Hope Ashiabor
Isabella Neuweg and Alina Averchenkova
Chapter 3 contains an in-depth analysis of climate policy in the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters – China, the European Union and the USA. The chapter details how they each face their unique challenges and how they have taken different routes in developing and implementing climate policy. China’s approach to climate policy reflects a governance system that is driven more by executive orders than acts of parliament. Accordingly, China has chosen to embed its climate change objectives in successive Five-Year-Plans. In the EU, policy making requires agreement across member states. Member states have decided to make climate policy an EU matter, setting binding EU-wide targets on carbon emissions, renewable energy and energy efficiency, and setting up a pan-European emissions trading scheme. US policy makers have taken a regulatory approach, with federal action based on an existing piece of legislation, the 1990 Clean Air Act. This reflects the contested nature of climate change policy, which has made it difficult to pass meaningful climate change legislation at the federal level. However, many states have moved ahead of the federal level, often enacting world-leading climate legislation.
Michal Nachmany, Achala Abeysinghe and Subhi Barakat
Chapter 4 describes the unique challenges of least developing countries (LDCs) in climate policy and traces their growing engagement on climate change. The motivations and challenges of LDCs are very different from those of industrialized economies, due both to their low emissions profile and their high vulnerability to climate impacts. As energy-related emissions are low, the transition to a low-carbon economy of LDCs simultaneously serves mitigation, adaptation and development objectives. However, integrating climate change into general development plans remains a challenge, and fewer than half of the LDCs have done so. Other focus areas are disaster risk reduction, climate resilience, land use change and access to international climate finance, although there is less legislative activity in these areas. A growing number of countries are contemplating dedicated climate laws, but climate action is still predominantly pursued through policies and executive instruments, rather than formal acts of parliament.
Alina Averchenkova and Sini Matikainen
Chapter 10 discusses the interplay between national climate legislation and international efforts to combat climate change. The chapter outlines the key implications of the Paris Agreement for domestic law making and assesses the consistency of domestic mitigation efforts by the G20 group of countries with the Paris objectives. To be consistent with their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to the Paris Agreement countries will need to adjust not just the level, but also the time frame and scope of their domestic climate targets. The majority of countries have yet to adopt a domestic emission target that is consistent with their NDCs. For Paris to be successful, countries also need to put more emphasis on ensuring the credibility and faithful implementation of their commitments. Success also demands a more systematic assessment of the adequacy of domestic efforts and improved national processes for monitoring, reporting and verification. Monitoring progress should focus not only on whether targets are being met, but also on their consistency with the 1.5–2°C pathway agreed in Paris.
Ibon Galarraga, Elisa Sainz de Murieta and Joan França
Chapter 8 discusses how national climate legislation is complemented by action at the regional, state and municipal level. The importance of sub-national actors is increasingly recognized in the international negotiations, and the Paris Agreement includes an explicit requirement to integrate climate policies across all levels of government. Responsibility for the implementation of national policies in key areas such as energy, transport and the environment is often devolved to the sub-national level. This gives cities and regions a formal role in national efforts to reduce emissions. Sub-national actors are also central to climate resilience. Adaptation to climate change is very context-specific and requires the close involvement of local stakeholders. The chapter documents how sub-national governments are often taking the lead in climate policy, assuming commitments that can exceed those made at national level. However, the coexistence of regional and national climate policies can create coordination problems and a high degree of collaboration among all levels of governance is essential.