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Initiative Background

Since 2005 GLOBE has been facilitating a high-level climate change dialogue amongst legislators. Initially consisting of cross-party representatives from the G8, Brazil, China, India, Mexico & South Africa, the programme has been expanded to include 33 countries in 2013 and will be further expanded to 66 in 2014.

In 2009 a set of "Legislative Principles on Climate Change" was negotiated and agreed by over 120 legislators from 17 countries. The aim of the principles was to guide legislators as they developed national climate change legislation, recognising that by moving together, and in a consistent fashion, the benefits of moving to a low carbon economy could be multiplied and the competitive distortions minimised.

This agreement paved the way for the 1st GLOBE Climate Legislation Study – an examination of existing climate-related legislation in 16 countries - launched in April 2011 alongside ministers from Australia, China and the UK. The aims of the study were twofold: 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 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.

It was clear that the report filled a gap in the knowledge of many on the extent of the legislative response to climate change. The Study has been widely referred to by ministers in debates in Australia, South Korea, Mexico, the UK and others. Christiana Figueres, the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, described the GLOBE study as "the Bible of climate action" at the launch of the 2nd edition in Durban in December 2011. The 3rd edition, expanded to cover 33 countries, was launched in London at the first GLOBE Climate Legislation Summit on 14 January 2013 alongside Christiana Figueres, Ed Davey (UK Secretary of State for Climate and Energy), Rt Hon John Gummer, Lord Deben (President of GLOBE International) and senior legislators from 25 countries.

The Role of Legislators

Legislators have a central role in responding to the climate change challenge. First, they have a responsibility to develop and pass domestic legislation. Second, they have a crucial role in monitoring the implementation of laws through their oversight of governments.

GLOBE members have played prominent roles in developing their respective national climate change-related legislation. For example, GLOBE members in Brazil, EU, Germany, Japan, Mexico, South Korea and the UK have been instrumental in the passage of national climate change-related legislation.

Recognition of Climate Change Legislation

Recognition of legislation could be an important building block in terms of creating the foundation for an international agreement. If national legislation is advanced by a parliament that is consistent with a credible pathway and is supported by enhanced national scrutiny structures, there is no reason why this should not be recognised by the international community as a valid commitment. Such a proposal respects national sovereignty and reinforces national governance structures. GLOBE is in discussions with the UNFCCC about how national legislation could formally be recognised in the international process.

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Climate Change

Christiana.figueres"Domestic legislation on climate is the absolutely critical, essential, linchpin between action at the national level and international agreements. It is absolutely at the centre."
"...nothing is going to be agreed internationally, until enough is legislated domestically."
Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC,
1st GLOBE Climate Legislation Summit in London,
14 January 2013

Introduction

Recognising the fundamental role of national legislation in creating the political conditions for success in the UN climate change negotiations, in January 2013 GLOBE International launched the GLOBE Climate Legislation Initiative (GCLI). This is a major new initiative focused on supporting legislators to advance climate change legislation between now and 2015, the scheduled conclusion of the international negotiations on a post-2020 agreement under the Durban Platform.

Why domestic legislation is so important

Domestic legislation is critical to support the political conditions necessary for international cooperation, particularly to enable a post-2020 agreement to be reached by 2015 under the Durban Platform.  Only when countries are already taking the necessary action, underpinned by domestic legislation, will they be in a position to sign up to the commitments and actions required under a global deal.

Domestic legislation helps to demonstrate that emissions reductions are possible and cost-effective. By moving together and in a consistent fashion (in line with the GLOBE Legislative Principles), legislators can multiply the benefits of moving to a low carbon economy and, at the same time, minimise competitive distortions. Policy-makers are increasingly aware of the correlation between countries with clear, long‐term legislative responses to climate change and significant levels of inward investment in clean energy.

The GLOBE Climate Change programme

The Climate Change programme was launched during a Summit held on 14-15 January 2013 at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London by Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, Rt Hon. Ed Davey, UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Hon Alastair Burt, Minister of State at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and senior cross-party legislators from over 25 countries.  

The objective of the GCLI is to provide a forum for legislators to share experiences in developing, passing and overseeing the implementation of climate change legislation and to support legislators as they move forward. The initiative is underpinned by the GLOBE Climate Legislation Study, which is published at the beginning of each year. The study provides both i) a measure of progress as a baseline of existing climate-related legislation and also ii) a means of knowledge sharing for legislators in different countries.

Between 2013 and 2014 GLOBE convened legislators twice each year to hear case studies, identify and promote good practice and to support legislators developing climate-related legislation. Importantly, priority will be given to strengthening legislators' effectiveness at holding governments to account on implementation, with particular emphasis on ensuring government budgets take into account climate objectives. 

Initiative timeline

The role of GLOBE Legislators in 2015

Following the GLOBE COP20 Legislators Summit, the GLOBE Secretariat was mandated to organise a series of parliamentary hearings on Indended Nationally-Determined Contributions (INDCs) with the aim of raising ambition ahead of COP21 and improve parliamentary scrutiny of government commitments.

You can read more about the GLOBE 2015 INDC Parliamentary Hearings here.