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Alina Averchenkova and Michal Nachmany

Chapter 6 discusses the institutional arrangements for climate change policy. Climate action is complex and often controversial. It needs an institutional framework to legitimize, execute and scrutinize the targets and measures that have been put in place. Appropriate institutional arrangements will vary from country to country and depend on the political economy, institutional history and other local factors. Yet certain key functions are common to and important for any arrangement. The institutional framework needs to ensure policies are durable, legitimate and effective. This requires the clear delineation of responsibilities, including between national and sub-national actors, mechanisms for stakeholder engagement and an efficient state bureaucracy. It may also require the creation of new dedicated bodies, for example to set and scrutinize targets, to mobilize and channel climate finance and for monitoring, reporting, verification (MRV).

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Alina Averchenkova, Sam Fankhauser and Michal Nachmany

Chapter 1 offers an overview of the book and summarizes the state and trends in climate change legislation. Making use of a unique global database, Climate Change Laws of the World, the chapter identifies over 1,200 climate change laws and policies of similar stature in the 164 countries the data covers. This stock of laws is the result of over 20 years of policy making and speaks to the growing attention that legislators are devoting to climate change. In 1997, at the time the Kyoto Protocol was signed, there were only about 60 relevant laws and policies. Countries use different routes to address climate change. In some countries the primary avenue is acts of parliament, that is, formal laws passed by the legislative branch. In others, the policy direction is defined through executive orders, decrees and strategies. Climate change laws also differ in scope and ambition. Some laws are specifically focused on climate change, advancing explicitly emissions reduction or adaptation targets. Others introduce climate concerns into sector policies, such as those on energy, or broader development plans. Understanding these different approaches becomes increasingly important as countries implement their pledges under the Paris Agreement.

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Michal Nachmany, Achala Abeysinghe and Subhi Barakat

Chapter 4 describes the unique challenges of least developing countries (LDCs) in climate policy and traces their growing engagement on climate change. The motivations and challenges of LDCs are very different from those of industrialized economies, due both to their low emissions profile and their high vulnerability to climate impacts. As energy-related emissions are low, the transition to a low-carbon economy of LDCs simultaneously serves mitigation, adaptation and development objectives. However, integrating climate change into general development plans remains a challenge, and fewer than half of the LDCs have done so. Other focus areas are disaster risk reduction, climate resilience, land use change and access to international climate finance, although there is less legislative activity in these areas. A growing number of countries are contemplating dedicated climate laws, but climate action is still predominantly pursued through policies and executive instruments, rather than formal acts of parliament.

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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.