A Groundswell of National Climate Legislation in Mexico, South Korea, Kenya, Peru

I think UNEP’s Achim Steiner was the first who talked about there being “silent momentum on climate change”. While everyone is looking at the UN climate negotiations, which at best continue to creep along at a snail’s pace, little noticed by many, things are picking up speed at the national and local level. I earlier already posted on the excellent developments in Denmark and Scotland. Now the last two weeks alone brought major positive news from Mexico, South Korea, Kenya and Peru.

Mexico has adopted a comprehensive climate law with 78-0 votes in the Senate and 280-10 votes in the House that sets binding emission targets through to 2050, making it the second such country worldwide after the UK. In addition, the law foresees the expansion of renewables, the creation of a high-level climate change commission to oversee national climate policy and mandatory emissions reporting for large emissions sources. It also hints at the establishment of an emission trading system. So if Mexico can do it, why can’t its much richer Northern neighbours?

In South Korea, lawmakers adopted legislation to establish a national emission trading system with 148 out of 151 votes. The system will start in 2015 and impose mandatory emission caps on the largest emitters across all sectors, accounting for about 60% of national emissions.

Kenya is still in the legislative process but seems set to adopt legislation within the year. The proposed legislation would create a Climate Change Authority to advise the national and county governments on legislation and other measures to combat climate change and and to establish and manage a national registry for carbon. According to the bill’s initiator he has the backing of more than half of the Members of Parliament. Kenya is already embarking on a massive expansion of its geothermal electricity supply.

Peru has also adopted a resolution on climate change. While details are still sketchy, the plan seems to aim for the long term and to include scaling up renewables and curbing deforestation in the Amazon.

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