Lord Deben moderating a debate with Ed Davey, UK Climate Change Minister at the Study Launch
When the 1st GLOBE Climate Legislation Study was launched in December 2010, it had an immediate impact. It fulfilled our two major objectives. First, it delivered a positive message about the scale and scope of national legislation on climate change in the major economies. At the time, this was a welcome contrast to the lack of progress in the international negotiations and it injected a real sense of momentum. Second, by demonstrating the extent and breadth of that national legislation, the study helped to tackle the argument, faced by many governments and legislators, that in advancing legislation they were acting alone and potentially putting their country at a competitive disadvantage. Used by ministers and legislators in Australia, Mexico, the UK and elsewhere, there is no doubt the study, in combination with the work of GLOBE’s members, played a key role in supporting the advances we have since seen in 2011 and 2012.
I am delighted, and proud, that the most significant improvement in 2012 – the passage of Mexico’s General Law on Climate Change – was driven by GLOBE Mexico, an outstanding example of what legislators, working across party lines, can achieve. For me as President of GLOBE International – this network of cross-party legislators – there was an important third outcome of the first study: international recognition of the role of parliamentarians in tackling climate change.
While governments and the media almost exclusively focus on the international negotia-tions, it was important to recognise the enabling nature of national legislation. By advancing legislation, countries can experience the positive co-benefits of tackling climate change such as greater resource efficiency, increased energy security, reduced exposure to volatile fossil fuel prices and a more climate-resilient economy. This, in turn, gives governments the confidence to go further and faster in the international negotiations. It has always been clear to me that national legislation is a fundamental prerequisite to any sufficiently ambitious international deal.
As Christiana Figueres, the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, said at GLOBE’s World Summit of Legislators in June 2012:
"It is no exaggeration to say that the clean revolution we need is being carried forward by legislation. Domestic legislation is critical because it is the linchpin between action on the ground and the international agreement. At the national level, it is clear that when countries enact clean energy policies, investment follows. At the international level, it is equally clear that domestic legislation opens the political space for international agreements and facilitates overall ambition".
That is why, with the support of Christiana Figueres, I am delighted that the launch of this 3rd study coincides with the launch of an important new policy process – the GLOBE Climate Legislation Initiative (GCLI).
The GCLI will run alongside the international negotiations under the “Durban Platform” and will focus on supporting legislators in 33 countries to advance national legislation on climate change to help create the political conditions for success in 2015. The 3rd GLOBE Climate Legislation Study, expanded to include the 33 countries in the GCLI, provides an extensive overview of national legislation and, given the newly included countries are almost all developing countries, a welcome greater focus on legislation related to adaptation.
The 3rd GLOBE Climate Legislation Study will provide a baseline from which to measure progress between now and 2015 and, importantly, will provide those legislators seeking to advance legislation in their own countries with a wealth of information about the international legislative response to climate change to inform their deliberations.
As President of GLOBE International I will be working continuously with GLOBE’s network of legislators across the world to advance the legislative response to climate change. Domestic legislation puts in place the legal frameworks to measure, report, verify and manage carbon. It helps to advance national positions and serves as a platform for greater international collaboration. No international treaty would be feasible, or credible, without commensurate legally binding action at the national level.