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ClientEarth Communications

16th November 2023

Climate litigation
Asia & the Pacific
Environmental justice
Rule of law

Why we’re calling for new climate laws at COP28

Climate change is not some hazard on the far horizon; it’s happening today, and it’s impacting more people in more places around the world than ever. As the world gathers for COP28, the urgency of addressing the climate crisis has never been more evident.

The clock is ticking, and that’s why we’re calling on global leaders to make bold commitments to draft and implement new climate laws this COP28, which will help turn pledges into action.

In this article we explore why we think countries need to focus on the power of new national climate laws to deliver on climate action.

We need ambitious, progressive and science-driven climate laws

At the core of the issue is the urgent requirement for countries to have laws that address climate change. 

Climate litigation is a symptom of a breakdown of trust – it’s a last course of action when companies and governments fail to deliver on their commitments and obligations.

Given the slow progress, it’s become clear that meaningful climate action will require a legal foundation. 

This is why we believe new climate laws must be legally binding and science-based at the national level to be truly effective.

The power of Framework Climate Laws

National climate laws – also known as Framework Climate Laws (FCLs) - play a crucial role in putting plans into action and holding countries accountable.

These laws are the key to turning global promises into real, enforceable actions at the local level. When they are put into action effectively, they protect people's rights, ecosystems, and all the different forms of life on our planet.

They create a legal foundation for cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions, making sure that promises to address climate change aren't just nice ideas but promises that must be kept. 

Case study: ClientEarth's climate advocacy

Our efforts in countries like Poland, the UK, Gabon, and China underscore the global significance of law in effectively addressing the environment and climate change crises.

In August 2021, ClientEarth published an analysis titled “Navigating Net-Zero: Global Lessons in Climate Law-making”, in which various climate laws around the world were evaluated.  

ClientEarth does more than advocate but also supports and drafts legislation. Lawyers at ClientEarth’s Warsaw office drafted the first framework climate law proposed in Poland, presented publicly in April 2023. ClientEarth is also engaged in advocacy on German climate law amendments, as well as advocacy in Türkiye’s climate law.

A call to action at COP28

We encourage countries to commit to ambitious, science-backed climate plans firmly grounded in legally binding laws.

We call for the right rules – the right governance, the right policies, the right frameworks – all of which are a fundamental part of the fragile ecosystem in securing climate justice.

Let COP28 go down in history as the conference where nations joined forces to put climate laws in place that will shape our shared future. 

The urgency of the climate crisis demands a global commitment to legal frameworks that ensure a fair, sustainable, and resilient future for everyone.

The time for symbolic gestures is behind us; now is the moment for real, meaningful action.

Donate today to support our work.

Read our COP28 Policy Report