climate change policy

Effective Climate Change Policy

Jane Marsh - September 26, 2022

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Since 1997, the importance of environmental conservation has expanded. Almost every country has a climate change prevention policy supporting global sustainability efforts. Ecologists, consumers and government officials influence the policies’ development.

Many of the laws and regulations target greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon dioxide alone contributes to most forms of environmental degradation. Before determining which country has the most effective climate change policy, we must evaluate the demand for emission reduction efforts.

Why are We Creating Climate Change Policies?

To understand the demand for climate change policies, individuals must explore the treadmill of production (ToP). The environmental sociological theory, developed by Allan Schnaiberg, explains the connection between human consumption and environmental responses. ToP signifies the increased demand for natural resources following World War II (WW2).

During WW2, global manufacturing rates increased as the demand for weapons and other products rose. When the war ended, production workers still needed jobs, maintaining production rates. As individuals consumed more natural resources to create energy and goods, ecological degradation worsened.

Because the treadmill supports the economy, slowing it creates various challenges. To conserve Earth’s natural resources, minimize climate change effects and support the economy, individuals must create effective government policies. Many of the laws and regulations officials develop globally support technological advancements and low-impact systems, creating an eco-conscious consumer market.

The Paris Agreement

In 2015, the United Nations (UN) established the Paris Agreement holding countries accountable for their pollution production. The policy works to decrease the global temperature by nearly 2°C compared to pre-industrial rates. It also established 2015 greenhouse gas emission rates as the global peak, helping countries reduce their pollution from there.

The UN regulates committed nations based on a five-year cycle. After a country filters through the first cycle, it must submit a plan for climate protection called the nationally determined contributions (NDCs). Their NDCs articulate the ways they will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build economic and social resilience towards change.

The Paris Agreement also holds developed nations responsible for supporting less established countries. It requires post-industrial nations to support other communities financially, helping them access emission-reduction technologies. England also has an effective climate change policy, improving ecological conditions.


The U.K.’s Climate Change Act

In 2019, the U.K. established the Climate Change Act, targeting carbon emissions. The act works towards eradicating greenhouse gases by 2050, reaching net zero. All individuals and corporations must significantly reduce their emissions under the act and offset any pollution using natural processes and green technologies.

England is also improving the power sector’s sustainability, sourcing more energy from renewable resources. The transition towards a clean electric grid creates more jobs for citizens. The installation processes, maintenance, manufacturing, and transportation of solar panels and wind turbines can enhance the country’s economy.

Renewable power sources additionally provide low-cost utilities, helping more individuals access electricity. Denmark also has an ambitious climate change policy helping consumers shrink their carbon footprints and energy bills.

Denmark’s Decarbonization Policy

Denmark’s climate change prevention efforts are unique because of the country’s size. If Denmark disappeared tomorrow, the global emission rate would hardly fluctuate. Its decarbonization policy is effective because it models a sustainability model for larger countries.

The country developed a policy reducing greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 70% compared to 1990 levels. It plans to achieve the goal by 2030 and reach complete carbon neutrality by 2050. Government officials are reducing emissions by enhancing the sustainability of the transportation, energy, and agricultural sectors

Denmark developed a legally binding contract between the government and farmers, committing them to emission reduction efforts. It also targets other pollution-producing individuals and systems, using a $593 million fund to transition away from ecologically degrading practices. The U.S. also recognized the importance of climate change prevention efforts and established its own policy.

America’s Clean Air Act

America established the Clean Air Act to monitor and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulated the act, holding each state responsible for its pollution. It targets both carbon dioxide and methane emissions, improving the sustainability of energy, transportation, and agriculture.

The Clean Air Act also requires corporations and the private sector to work with the Department of Energy. Together, the organizations can develop green technologies to minimize emissions. They can improve the efficiency levels of solar panels and renewable energy storage capabilities.

Government officials also establish fuel economy standards to decrease tailpipe emissions. Currently, the U.S. president is pushing a mass transition towards electric vehicles, advancing green technologies and employment.  

Which Country has the Best Climate Change Policy?

After evaluating the different climate change policies around the world, individuals may question which country has the most effective regulations. Some researchers identify Denmark as having the most progressive sustainability regulations so far. Others believe that any country working to shrink its carbon footprint is benefiting global environmental sustainability. 


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About the author

Jane Marsh

Starting from an early age, Jane Marsh loved all animals and became a budding environmentalist. Now, Jane works as the Editor-in-Chief of Environment.co where she covers topics related to climate policy, renewable energy, the food industry, and more.