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Global Lessons from Climate Change Legislation and Litigation

In: Environmental and Energy Policy and the Economy, volume 2

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  • Shaikh Eskander
  • Sam Fankhauser
  • Joana Setzer

Abstract

There is no country in the world that does not have at least one law or policy dealing with climate change. The most prolific countries have well over 20, and globally there are 1,800 such laws. Some of them are executive orders or policies issued by governments, others are legislative acts passed by parliament. The judiciary has been involved in 1,500 court cases that concern climate change (more than 1,100 of which were in the United States). We use Climate Change Laws of the World, a publicly accessible database, to analyze patterns and trends in climate change legislation and litigation over the past 30 years. The data reveal that global legislative activity peaked around 2009–14, well before the Paris Agreement. Accounting for effectiveness in implementation and the length of time laws have been in place, the United Kingdom and South Korea are the most comprehensive legislators among G20 countries and Spain within the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Climate change legislation is less of a partisan issue than is commonly assumed: the number of climate laws passed by governments of the left, center, and right is roughly proportional to their time in office. We also find that legislative activity decreases in times of economic difficulty. Where courts have gotten involved, judges outside the United States have ruled in favor of enhanced climate protection in about half of the cases (US judges are more inclined to rule against climate protection).
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Suggested Citation

  • Shaikh Eskander & Sam Fankhauser & Joana Setzer, 2020. "Global Lessons from Climate Change Legislation and Litigation," NBER Chapters, in: Environmental and Energy Policy and the Economy, volume 2, pages 44-82, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:14503
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Fankhauser, Sam & Gennaioli, Caterina & Collins, Murray, 2015. "The political economy of passing climate change legislation: evidence from a survey," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 63352, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
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    7. Joana Setzer & Mook Bangalore, 2017. "Regulating climate change in the courts," Chapters, in: Alina Averchenkova & Sam Fankhauser & Michal Nachmany (ed.), Trends in Climate Change Legislation, chapter 9, pages 175-192, Edward Elgar Publishing.
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    Cited by:

    1. C. José García Martín & Begoña Herrero, 2020. "Do board characteristics affect environmental performance? A study of EU firms," Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 27(1), pages 74-94, January.
    2. Fankhauser, Samuel & Kotsch, Raphaela & Srivastav, Sugandha, 2020. "The readiness of industry for a transformative recovery from COVID 19," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 106995, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. Christos Karydas & Anastasios Xepapadeas, 2019. "Climate change risks: pricing and portfolio allocation," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 19/327, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
    4. Maria Girip & Daniela Mărăcine & Lăcrămioara Dracea, 2020. "Environmental Impact of Conventional Agriculture," Ovidius University Annals, Economic Sciences Series, Ovidius University of Constantza, Faculty of Economic Sciences, vol. 0(1), pages 372-381, August.
    5. Magnus C. Abraham-Dukuma & Michael O. Dioha & Natalia Bogado & Hemen Mark Butu & Francis N. Okpaleke & Qaraman M. Hasan & Shari Babajide Epe & Nnaemeka Vincent Emodi, 2020. "Multidisciplinary Composition of Climate Change Commissions: Transnational Trends and Expert Perspectives," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(24), pages 1-23, December.
    6. Konrad Prandecki & Edyta Gajos, 2018. "Reductin of greenhouse gases emission and sustainability: The multi-criteria approach," International Conference on Competitiveness of Agro-food and Environmental Economy Proceedings, The Bucharest University of Economic Studies, vol. 7, pages 46-54.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K32 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Energy, Environmental, Health, and Safety Law
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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