Identifying Climate Targets in National Laws and Policies using Machine Learning (Papers Track)

Matyas Juhasz (Climate Policy Radar); Tina Marchand (Climate Policy Radar); Roshan Melwani (Climate Policy Radar); Kalyan Dutia (Climate Policy Radar); Sarah Goodenough (Climate Policy Radar); Harrison Pim (Climate Policy Radar); Henry Franks (Climate Policy Radar)

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Public Policy


Quantified policy targets are a fundamental element of climate policy, typically characterised by domain-specific and technical language. Current methods for curating comprehensive views of global climate policy targets entail significant manual effort. At present there are few scalable methods for extracting climate targets from national laws or policies, which limits policymakers’ and researchers’ ability to (1) assess private and public sector alignment with global goals and (2) inform policy decisions. In this paper we present an approach for extracting mentions of climate targets from national laws and policies. We create an expert-annotated dataset identifying three categories of target (’Net Zero’, ’Reduction’ and ’Other’ (e.g. renewable energy targets)) and train a classifier to reliably identify them in text. We investigate bias and equity impacts related to our model and identify specific years and country names as problematic features. We explore the dataset generated from applying our classifier to the Climate Policy Radar (CPR) dataset, showcasing the potential for automated data collection and research support in climate policy. Our work represents a significant upgrade in the accessibility of these key climate policy elements for policymakers and researchers.