All 197 countries that have signed or ratified the Paris Climate Agreement now have at least one climate related law or policy in place.
A policy brief published on Monday by UK-based climate research institute the Grantham Institute finds there are now over 1,500 laws and policies in place worldwide, up from only 72 in 1997, with 106 introduced since the Paris Agreement was finalised at the end of 2015.
The researchers found 139 countries have framework laws (like the UK’s 2008 Climate Change Act, and replicated elsewhere) that address climate mitigation or adaptation holistically, something they believe will form a substantial legal basis on which to strengthen climate action to keep warming well below two degrees Celsius.
Of the new laws and policies, only 28 explicitly reference the Agreement. The authors suggest alignment between national and international goals is important to measure progress towards targets in their NDCs, and to up ratchet them up to realise the Paris goals.
They also highlight the emergence of new court cases linking climate and rights. Although a small proportion of the 1,000 climate cases they identified, they feel they could have significant impact in holding governments and greenhouse gas emitters accountable for climate change.