Databases Showcase Climate Change Legislation and Litigation Worldwide

October 03, 2017

 The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), UK, and the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at the Columbia Law School, New York, US, have, over the past few years, collected data on climate change law and compiled it in the ‘Climate Change Laws of the World’ and ‘Climate Change Litigation of the World’ databases.

‘Climate Change Laws of the World’ covers climate change legislation and policies in 164 countries, and includes the world’s 50 largest and 95 of the top 100 greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters, together accounting for nearly 95% of global emissions. The database covers climate and climate-related laws, thus highlighting the relevance of climate policy in energy, transport, land use and climate resilience, among others.

‘Climate Change Litigation of the World’ showcases climate change litigation from 25 countries, with cases discussing law and fact issues regarding climate change science, mitigation and adaptation policies or efforts before an administrative, judicial or other investigatory body. The database excludes US litigation, which is covered by the Sabin Center/Arnold and Porter Kaye Scholer database.

The databases help to achieve the SDGs, particularly SDG 13 (climate action), as well as SDGs 1 (no poverty), 2 (zero hunger), 7 (affordable and clean energy), 11 (sustainable cities and communities) and 15 (life on land).

The databases include an interactive map where users can select countries and view information about their laws and litigation.

The 2017 update titled, ‘Global trends in climate change legislation and litigation’ and published in report format, builds on the two databases, and describes the methodology and scope used to compile the data. The publication highlights, among other things, over 1,200 climate change or climate change-relevant laws globally, amounting to a twenty-fold increase over 20 years; and the need to strengthen existing laws and fill gaps, rather than develop new frameworks.

The report also finds that developing countries are enacting increasingly more climate change legislation, based mostly on climate resilience; and that courts are complementing legislative action, and strengthening or maintaining climate change regulation in approximately two-thirds of court cases. It further underscores the need to better integrate climate change into development plans.

Together with the update report, the databases, help to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 13 (climate action), as well as SDGs 1 (no poverty), 2 (zero hunger), 7 (affordable and clean energy), 11 (sustainable cities and communities) and 15 (life on land)