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Countries around the world are living up to their promises to take climate action, according to new research which reveals that each one of the 197 countries currently signed up to the Paris Agreement now has at least one national climate law or policy in place.

The study, released today by the London School of Economics, reveals that since the climate treaty was agreed in Paris in December 2015 106 climate change laws and policies have been created worldwide, bringing the global total to more than 1,500 separate measures. Some 28 new laws or policies explicitly reference the agreement.

But the researchers, from the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy at the University, said further analysis would be needed before they can say whether the new actions are consistent with carbon reduction promises made by nations as part of the Paris process.

And they also warn that the pace of passing new legislation has slowed significantly in the last year. In 2016 64 new laws and policies were passed to tackle climate change, but the amount of new legislation dropped to just 36 measures in 2017.

Given the scale of ambition required to limit warming to "well below" two degrees, as required by the Paris Agreement, a "sustained low level of legislative developments could be a sign for concern," the paper warns.

The paper also identifies "a new wave" of climate court cases, which could pose a major threat to businesses with historically high carbon emissions.

The researchers have identified a few hundred climate-related court cases that could "have significant impact in holding governments and greenhouse gas emitters accountable for climate change". Other cases are beginning to force courts to rule on the consistency of countries' actions with the Paris Agreement, the paper adds.

 

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