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Climate Change Progress 'More Substantial Than People Realise' Claims Globe International And LSE Report

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Developed nations are doing more to tackle climate change than many people realise, according to a new report.

Almost all of the 33 developed and developing countries surveyed had introduced or progressed with significant climate-related legislation within their own borders in the last year.

While the UK had not made substantial progress in 2012, it did put in placea raft of climate-related legislation, including the flagship 2008 Climate Change Act, and measures on energy efficiency, supporting renewables and sustainable homes.

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There has been a push towards supporting renewable energy

Additionally the EU as a whole made progress, despite having a tough economic year, with its new directive on energy efficiency.

The US also pushed forward with regulating carbon dioxide through its Clean Air Act, according to the report by the Grantham Research Institute at LSE and Globe International, which brings together legislators from different countries.

Only Canada had gone backwards on climate change, by repealing the Act which implemented its targets under the Kyoto Protocol treaty to cut global emissions.

climate chnage

Canada went backwards on climate change

Action by developing countries was more significant, with Mexico leading the way with a new climate law to cut emissions by 30% compared to "business as usual" by 2020, and major progress by countries ranging from Kenya to Pakistan.

China, the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, has begun to draft its national climate change law, while local legislation - the first of its kind in the country - was passed in Shenzhen to manage greenhouse gas emissions.

The report, now in its third year, was expanded to cover 33 countries, including 17 of the 20 top polluters, which account for 85% of the world's emissions.

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More still needs to be done to tackle climate change, the report said

Lord Deben, president of Globe International and chairman of the UK's official Committee on Climate Change, said: "This is a game-changing development, driven by emerging economies, but taking place across each and every continent."

However the report warned that the measures taken by the countries in the study were not enough to prevent global temperatures rising more than 2C, beyond which "dangerous" climate change is predicted to occur.

Globe vice president and Tory MP Graham Stuart said: "Progress has been much more substantial and much more widespread than people realise, but still lags the action required to meet the goal of reducing climate change to less than 2C."

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Navajo Generating Station, from Lake Powell, in Page, Arizona.

But showing that legislation is being implemented in a number of countries will build confidence among nations that they are not acting alone and will improve the chances of an ambitious international deal being secured, he suggested.

And the more countries that have legislation and regulation in place, the more logical it comes for businesses to invest in the technologies, such as energy efficient appliances and renewables, needed to combat climate change.

"Legislation and regulatory frameworks can never in themselves deliver what's required.

"What we are hoping for is that it triggers the technological change and behavioural change in business and wider society that means we can lower emissions without crippling industry or threatening living standards with an unacceptable cost."

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Scientists have warned that not enough is being done

He added that the idea of green jobs was an attractive one, with significant numbers of people already employed in the sector in the UK and other countries.

And he said: "The snail-paced progress of international negotiations reinforces the case Globe has been making for a number of years: it's at the national level you can accelerate progress and by doing that build the confidence and the conditions to allow eventual international agreement."

He added: "While international negotiations continue at a painfully slow pace, national progress as mapped by Globe gives hope for the future."

Globe International is holding a summit this week, bringing together legislators from around the world, to kickstart efforts to push forward climate legislation between now and 2015, when it is hoped a new global climate treaty will be agreed.