Module 2

Area of Expertise

Legislating for climate change is a complex and difficult task, but one that is carried out with increasing frequency and fortitude by parliaments around the globe. The 2013 GLOBE Climate Legislation Study identified close to 500 new laws enacted since October 2012 by the 66 countries under review. The report signals a notable shift in climate change legislation from industrialized countries to developing countries and emerging markets, and identifies significant positive change in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America in particular.

The GLOBE study also illustrates that 'climate change legislation' is quite a large umbrella term. The most prominent 'climate laws' pertain to climate change mitigation, such as those requiring carbon emission cuts and those setting renewable energy and energy efficiency targets.

Since climate change is inexorably linked to many other issues however, including agriculture, fishery and food production, energy, health, disaster risk management and water security, legislating on climate change goes far beyond emission and energy targets. It involves mainstreaming climate change into all aspects of development and national planning, and in doing so touches upon many policy fields. This requires a capacity and willingness on the part of law-makers to legislate for the medium to long term.


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Discussion Questions

- How is law-making typically done in parliament?  Are proposals developed by the government?  Is it common for MPs to submit bills or amendments?  What kind of staff support is in place for legislative drafting and review? 

- Ask your participants if their country has flagship legislation on climate change and/or energy.

- If yes, what are the key objectives and targets specified in this law? 

- If no, what other laws on climate change and/or energy are currently in place?  Is there a clear legislative framework?

    - Has the parliament recently passed new legislation on climate change and/or energy, or are any bills or amendments currently being developed?  

    - Is there an opportunity to insert climate change or energy provisions into other bills? 


    Parliamentary Action Points
    • Cross-party work: joining forces
    • Commissioning impact and assessment studies
    • Dig up the Data
    • Propose amendments: small changes count
    • Constitutional reform

    Further Resources

    The GLOBE Climate Legislation Study

    The GLOBE Climate Legislation Study seeks to provide an authoritative and comprehensive annual audit of climate change-related laws in the 66 country chapters.  

    VIDEO: Parliamentary Action on Renewable Energy - how to end fossil fuel subsidies

    This video, produced by UNDP and the Climate Parliament in the framework of their joint Parliamentary Action on Renewable Energy (PARE) project, illustrates how fossil fuel subsidies continue to skew the energy market and undermine much-needed investment in renewable energy sources.

    IPCC 2014: Mitigation – National & Sub-National Policies & Institutions

    Mitigation scenarios suggest that a wide range of environmentally effective policies could be enacted that would be consistent with such goals. This chapter (part of the IPCC Climate Change 2014 - Climate Change Mitigation report) assesses national and sub‐national policies and institutions to mitigate climate change. It assesses the strengths and weaknesses of various mitigation policy instruments and policy packages and how they may interact either positively or negatively. 

    Derisking Renewable Energy Investment

    This report describes an innovative framework to support policymakers in quantitatively comparing the impact of different public instrument packages to scale-up renewable energy in developing countries.