Trends in Climate Change Legislation
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Trends in Climate Change Legislation

Edited by Alina Averchenkova, Sam Fankhauser and Michal Nachmany

A deepening understanding of the importance of climate change has caused a recent and rapid increase in the number of climate change or climate-related laws. Trends in Climate Change Legislation offers an astute analysis of the political, institutional and economic factors that have motivated this surge, placing it into context.
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Chapter 3: Climate change legislation and policy in China, the European Union and the United States

Isabella Neuweg and Alina Averchenkova

Abstract

Chapter 3 contains an in-depth analysis of climate policy in the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters – China, the European Union and the USA. The chapter details how they each face their unique challenges and how they have taken different routes in developing and implementing climate policy. China’s approach to climate policy reflects a governance system that is driven more by executive orders than acts of parliament. Accordingly, China has chosen to embed its climate change objectives in successive Five-Year-Plans. In the EU, policy making requires agreement across member states. Member states have decided to make climate policy an EU matter, setting binding EU-wide targets on carbon emissions, renewable energy and energy efficiency, and setting up a pan-European emissions trading scheme. US policy makers have taken a regulatory approach, with federal action based on an existing piece of legislation, the 1990 Clean Air Act. This reflects the contested nature of climate change policy, which has made it difficult to pass meaningful climate change legislation at the federal level. However, many states have moved ahead of the federal level, often enacting world-leading climate legislation.

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