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Alina Averchenkova and Michal Nachmany

Chapter 6 discusses the institutional arrangements for climate change policy. Climate action is complex and often controversial. It needs an institutional framework to legitimize, execute and scrutinize the targets and measures that have been put in place. Appropriate institutional arrangements will vary from country to country and depend on the political economy, institutional history and other local factors. Yet certain key functions are common to and important for any arrangement. The institutional framework needs to ensure policies are durable, legitimate and effective. This requires the clear delineation of responsibilities, including between national and sub-national actors, mechanisms for stakeholder engagement and an efficient state bureaucracy. It may also require the creation of new dedicated bodies, for example to set and scrutinize targets, to mobilize and channel climate finance and for monitoring, reporting, verification (MRV).

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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.

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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.

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Edited by Alina Averchenkova, Sam Fankhauser and Michal Nachmany

A deepening understanding of the importance of climate change has caused a recent and rapid increase in the number of climate change or climate-related laws. Trends in Climate Change Legislation offers an astute analysis of the political, institutional and economic factors that have motivated this surge, placing it into context.
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Alina Averchenkova, Sam Fankhauser and Michal Nachmany

Chapter 1 offers an overview of the book and summarizes the state and trends in climate change legislation. Making use of a unique global database, Climate Change Laws of the World, the chapter identifies over 1,200 climate change laws and policies of similar stature in the 164 countries the data covers. This stock of laws is the result of over 20 years of policy making and speaks to the growing attention that legislators are devoting to climate change. In 1997, at the time the Kyoto Protocol was signed, there were only about 60 relevant laws and policies. Countries use different routes to address climate change. In some countries the primary avenue is acts of parliament, that is, formal laws passed by the legislative branch. In others, the policy direction is defined through executive orders, decrees and strategies. Climate change laws also differ in scope and ambition. Some laws are specifically focused on climate change, advancing explicitly emissions reduction or adaptation targets. Others introduce climate concerns into sector policies, such as those on energy, or broader development plans. Understanding these different approaches becomes increasingly important as countries implement their pledges under the Paris Agreement.