In 2009 the Global Legislators’ Organisation secured agreement on a set of “Legislative Principles on Climate Change” that were co-authored by Chinese Congressman Wang Guangtao and US Congressman Ed Markey and endorsed by 120 legislators from 16 countries. These principles were designed to guide legislators as they advanced climate change legislation on the basis that moving together, and in a consistent fashion, would help to maximise the benefits of moving towards a low carbon economy and minimise the competitive distortions.

To facilitate the implementation of the “Legislative Principles on Climate Change”, it is important to develop a better understanding of existing climate change-related laws to learn lessons and benefit from the experience of others. With this in mind, in 2010 GLOBE partnered with the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics to survey international climate change legislation. The 1st GLOBE Climate Legislation Study (Townshend et al. 2010) examined climate-related legislation in 16 of the major economies. The 2nd GLOBE Climate Legislation Study, published in December 2011, was expanded to include Australia, and covered progress in 2011.

The aims of the studies are twofold. First, to support legislators advancing climate-related legislation by providing a detailed summary of existing legislation across the major economies that would enable them to identify gaps best practice, and help peer-to-peer learning. And second, to document and highlight the broad progress on climate change legislation at the domestic level in both industrialised and developing countries to provide positive momentum to the international negotiations.

Parliaments considering climate-related legislation benefit from the experience of others. For example, Australia’s Clean Energy Act and South Korea’s emissions trading legislation draw on the experience, and lessons learned, from the EU’s emissions trading system. Mexico’s General Law on Climate Change, the most significant advance of 2012, draws on the experience of the UK, EU and others. Brazilian, Indonesian, Mexican and Congolese legislators have been sharing knowledge of forest-related legislation – via the GLOBE Legislators’ Forest Initiative – to ensure maximum consistency and to learn lessons from each other’s experience. And in January 2012 the team drafting China’s climate change law made a study visit to London and Brussels, hosted by GLOBE International, to learn from the experience of the UK and the EU to inform the development of their national law.

This report, the 3rd GLOBE Climate Legislation Study, has been expanded further to cover 33 countries, including many developing countries. It includes 17 of the top 20 emitters of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and 24 of the top 50, representing over 85% of global emissions.

Importantly, this third study coincides with the launch of the new GLOBE Climate Legislation Initiative (GCLI), a new policy process to support the advance of climate change legislation in 33 countries. The GCLI will run alongside the international negotiations under the Durban Platform with the aim of helping to build the foundations and political conditions that enable an international agreement to be reached.

This study will provide a baseline from which progress can be measured. GLOBE International and its members strongly believe that legislative action at the national level is a fundamental prerequisite to achieving the ultimate goal of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change – the stabilisation of GHG concen-trations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.