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Probing the hidden depths of climate law: Analysing national climate change legislation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-81
Number of pages15
JournalReview of European, Comparative & International Environmental Law
Issue number1
Early online date27 Nov 2018
E-pub ahead of print27 Nov 2018
Published1 Apr 2019

King's Authors


National governments that are committed to a social transition in the pursuit of climate policy face a complex legal challenge in evaluating how their legal and regulatory architectures support climate policy and in introducing new legal measures to implement their Paris Agreement commitments. This article sets out a method for appraising how fragmented national climate relevant laws combine to create an aggregated legal and regulatory landscape that frames and governs national responses to climate change. Appraising this kind of landscape is a methodologically
fraught exercise, considering that climate change can intersect with many areas of law and regulation, which are all embedded within the histories, legal doctrines and governance frameworks of particular legal systems. We propose a tripartite method for this task identifying ‘direct’ or explicit climate laws, identifying ‘indirect’ or implicit climate laws, and investigating legal cultures that inform and express both types of climate-related law. The article focuses on climate‐related legislation in countries with lawmaking assemblies in proposing this approach, arguing that the national scale and legislative processes are both particularly significant in evaluating climate laws. This approach to climate law methodology can support both national climate planning and multilateral processes such as the Paris Agreement's global stocktake.

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