Existing National Laws Can Start Responding to 'Unequivocal' Climate Change
A new report released Friday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that global warming is “unequivocal” and that the response will require “substantial and sustained reductions” of climate pollutants. The report is the first of four volumes of the IPCC’s fifth comprehensive assessment of scientific knowledge on climate change.
“The IPCC report today makes it clear that urgent action is needed to protect the climate” said Durwood Zaelke, Executive Director of the International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE). “A good place to start is the existing national laws most nations already have on their books; compliance with these laws can help cut climate pollution immediately,” he added.
Existing laws include those that control black carbon (soot), often regulated as particulate matter, tropospheric ozone, the principal component of ground-level smog, and methane, along with laws that control factory-made hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and other fluorinated gases. Recent scientific analysis indicates that a global effort to reduce these short-lived climate pollutants would cut the rate of global warming in half through 2070, and by two-thirds in the fragile Arctic.
“Strengthening enforcement and compliance with our existing air pollution laws is essential for climate protection in both the near-term and long-term," said Zaelke.
A new Special Report on Compliance Strategies to Deliver Climate Benefits released outlines the tools needed to ensure compliance with existing laws that control climate pollutants. Compliance with air pollution laws aimed at black carbon particulates can improve air quality, prevent respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses and deaths, and at the same time provide fast climate protection.
The INECE Special Report on climate compliance includes practical strategies for sanctioning non-compliance and fraud, designing robust laws and standards, monitoring emissions, and detecting and reporting violations, among other actions to ensure compliance with climate laws. Other major themes in the publication include the European experience producing compliance in carbon markets as emissions trading schemes expand worldwide and the advantages of interagency cooperation and networking to effectively enforce climate laws and maximize limited resources.
The global community aims to negotiate a new climate agreement by the end of 2015 applicable to all parties that would have legal force after 2020. In the next seven years, the tools described in the Special Report can help guide countries with existing and emerging laws and regulations that respond, directly and indirectly, to climate change mitigation and adaptation.
“To avoid the worst impacts of climate change, governments must continue to implement effectively and enforce rigorously laws that reduce energy demand and the emission of climate pollutants,” said Ken Markowitz, Managing Director of INECE. “This report advances INECE efforts to provide practitioners and policy makers with better assure compliance with the diverse array of laws and regulations that deliver climate benefits, both directly and indirectly.”
The report is available as an interactive web-based toolkit, online at http://inece.org/climate-report/. INECE envisions the report to be a dynamic document and invites submittals of practical approaches to assuring compliance with laws that deliver climate change benefits in the comment sections of the online report or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Special Report was supported by the Netherlands Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment.
Primer on Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (IGSD, 2013)
IPCC Working Group I (September 2013)
INECE develops and implements practical and innovative activities that strengthen environmental compliance and enforcement at all levels of governance – local, national, regional, and international. INECE builds the capacity of compliance and enforcement stakeholders to contribute to the rule of law and good governance in areas that advance sustainable development. INECE is hosted by the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development.
For more information, see http://www.inece.org/.
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