Sabin Center Creates Database of Climate Change Laws of the World


Posted on March 10th, 2015 by Jennifer Klein

TPPThe Columbia Law School Sabin Center for Climate Change Law has created a comprehensive database with links to climate laws and policies around the globe. The collection currently includes information for more than 100 countries, organized by continent.

Researchers at the Sabin Center developed the database as a new resource for the climate change law and policy community and have expanded the project due to demand from users of its website, www.columbiaclimatelaw.com, one of the world’s leading reference sources for climate change law. The center will continue adding new countries over the next six months and will regularly update the resource as new laws are enacted.

“We are in the process of creating what we hope will become a complete collection of the climate change laws adopted by the countries of the world,” said Michael B. Gerrard, faculty director of the Sabin Center and the Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice at Columbia Law School. “Our database is already the most comprehensive set of these laws that exists. This site will be helpful to lawyers and others involved in transactions or cases in other countries, and to researchers seeking to compare different countries’ approaches, to find examples of enactments addressing particular subjects, or to hone in on a particular country’s or region’s statutes.”

The first national climate change laws date back to 1991, when the Philippines created an Inter-Agency Committee on Climate Change, but the laws are enacted and revised continually. Most recently, in December 2014, Mexico amended its General Law on Climate Change. While a few countries have single laws that attempt to comprehensively address greenhouse gas emissions reductions and climate change adaptation, the vast majority of countries have multiple laws that address climate change, or that could be used to address climate change. These include laws on forestry, land use, agriculture, energy, water resources, and air pollution control, among other topics.

“We hope this site will prove of general use to researchers, lawyers, and policy-makers around the world, and of specific use in the lead-up to and aftermath of the December 2015 Paris conference, where 196 nations will gather to adopt a new global agreement on climate change,” said Michael Burger, executive director of the Sabin Center. “The site provides direct access to the thousands of laws on the books that will be implicated by the agreement.”

The new Climate Change Laws of the World resource is just one of many tools developed by the Sabin Center to provide law students, lawyers, and policymakers with legal techniques and training to fight climate change.

NOTE:  The center invites and welcomes collaboration in developing and updating this expansive and rapidly changing body of laws. Please email additions and updates to ColumbiaClimate@gmail.com.

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