After the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Conference, it was apparent that a number of countries had made pledges that needed backing up at home in the form of laws. The U.S. is one such example. Our House of Representatives passed a climate and energy bill back in June. Similar legislation has yet to come up for any votes at all in the Senate.
On the flip side of the coin, Brazil is an example of a country that made a pledge and now can point to a law backing up that pledge. The law requires CO2 emissions to be reduced by 39% by 2020. I haven’t found the baseline year they’re measuring against – i.e. 2005 emissions or 1990 emissions. The 1990 emissions would obviously be more restrictive, so my initial gut feeling is they’re using their 2005 emissions as a benchmark.
To be fair, Brazil isn’t the textbook case of a country which has always done things in an environmentally conscious way. But they are closer to action than we are.