According to the London School of Economics, three-quarters of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions are limited by national targets. While this isn’t enough to prevent climate change, and may not even be enough to keep that change within targeted manageable levels over the next century, it’s certainly a start.
The European Union plus another 98 countries are responsible for 93% of all carbon emissions. 53 countries, which include the 28 member nations of the European Union, have national targets in place to control emissions. Those emissions amount to about 75% of global emissions.
The study was prepared for the United Nations summit in Paris this December, and will allow the UN to determine the validity of emissions goals put in place by member nations, based on the kinds of targets they have in place now and how well they’ve been sticking to them. Researchers are not sure if the present goals will be able to minimize climate change to 2 degree Celsius over the remainder of the 21st century, a target that many scientists feel is possible but also necessary to limit risk to the planet’s ecosystems.
The study also illustrates historical trends in climate change related legislation. By the end of 2014, the nations surveyed had a total of 804 climate laws and policies between them. That number is up from 426 as recently as 2009. And back in 1997, when the Kyoto Protocol was signed to begin establishing emissions targets and to limit climate change, there were only 54 laws or policies between those nations. The number of climate laws has generally doubled every five years.
An overwhelming amount of scientific studies have illustrated that climate change is real, is caused by human action, and has dire consequences. As more governments and more people have begun to take climate change seriously, the result has been more oversight of pollution and attempts to actively reduce that pollution. The results may not be clear yet, but the effort certainly is.