in: Climate Policy 18 (9), 1114-1132
Global climate change governance has changed substantially in the last decade, with a shift in focus from negotiating globally agreed greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets to nationally determined contributions, as enshrined in the 2015 Paris Agreement. This paper analyses trends in adoption of national climate legislation and strategies, GHG targets, and renewable and energy efficiency targets in almost all UNFCCC Parties, focusing on the period from 2007 to 2017. The uniqueness and added value of this paper reside in its broad sweep of countries, the more than decade-long coverage and the use of objective metrics rather than normative judgements. Key results show that national climate legislation and strategies witnessed a strong increase in the first half of the assessed decade, likely due to the political lead up to the Copenhagen Climate Conference in 2009, but have somewhat stagnated in recent years, currently covering 70% of global GHG emissions (almost 50% of countries). In comparison, the coverage of GHG targets increased considerably in the run up to adoption of the Paris Agreement and 89% of global GHG emissions are currently covered by such targets. Renewable energy targets saw a steady spread, with 79% of the global GHG emissions covered in 2017 compared to 45% in 2007, with a steep increase in developing countries.
Key policy insights
The number of countries that have national legislation and strategies in place increased strongly up to 2012, but the increase has levelled off in recent years, now covering 70% of global emissions by 2017 (48% of countries and 76% of global population).