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Title page of the newly published legal research report titled, "Carbon Neutrality Legislation Around the World."

Law Library’s Newly Published Legal Report titled, “Carbon Neutrality Legislation Around the World”

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The following is a guest post by Assistant Law Librarian for Legal Research, Peter Roudik, who also serves as the foreign law specialist for Russia and former Soviet states. He has previously written blog posts on a spring holiday for workers, the Soviet investigation of Nazi war crimeslustration in UkraineCrimean history and the 2014 referendumregulating the Winter Olympics in RussiaSoviet law and the assassination of JFK, the treaty on the creation of the Soviet Union, and assassinations of Russian ambassadors, among others.

At the end of last year, the Law Library completed its third annual survey of carbon neutrality legislation around the world. Previous reports were issued in 2021 and 2022. All these reports identify jurisdictions that declared climate neutrality as their target and passed or introduced legislation aimed at achieving this goal.

The definition of carbon neutrality was brought into wide use by the New Oxford American Dictionary in 2006. Since then, it has been defined as “making no net release of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere,” and many states – signatories to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – committed to “reduce anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.” The number of these countries is gradually going up, especially after the European Union adopted the European Climate Law in 2021 to become climate-neutral by 2050. According to our report, by the end of 2023, 57 jurisdictions around the world confirmed their intent to achieve climate neutrality in existing or pending legislation. Existing net-zero legislation was found in the EU, its 27 member states, and 25 countries outside of the EU. Seven of the researched jurisdictions plan to achieve carbon neutrality earlier than 2050, and two countries may target a date that will be later than 2050. At least two countries have enacted laws with net zero goals at the subnational level, and another nation proposed legislation targeting a specific region. Newly introduced laws were found in three other countries. You can find out which countries did what after reading this report. I invite you to look at other climate change-related information on our website and the Global Legal Monitor.

Read the newly published report, here.

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