74 research outputs found

    How to make UK energy policy more predictable again

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    A series of policy U-turns have made aspects of British energy policy unpredictable. With such reversals having been politically motivated, state involvement must be revisited if the industry is to re-establish its credibility, argues Sam Fankhauser. He explains that making strategy and decision-making more transparent, and delegating regulation to independent bodies, are some steps that will depoliticise the energy sector and increase investor trust

    How green are the manifestos? GE2017 and climate change

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    Sam Fankhauser and Sini Matikainen review what the manifestos of the Conservatives, Labour, and the Liberal Democrats contain on the environment. They argue that all three parties are committed to taking action, but there is a risk that climate change will be forgotten by a new government preoccupied with other issues

    The impact of climate legislation on trade-related carbon emissions 1996–2018

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    We analyse the international impact on carbon emissions from national climate legislation in 111 countries over 1996–2018. We estimate trade-related carbon leakage, or net carbon imports, as the difference between consumption and production emissions. Legislation has had a significant negative and roughly similar impact on both consumption and production emissions. The net impact on trade-related emissions is therefore not statistically significant, neither in the short term (laws passed in the last 3 years) nor the long term (laws older than 3 years). We find a significant negative long-term impact on domestic emissions from laws passed by trade partners. This latter specification corresponds to the traditional definition of carbon leakage. Overall, we conclude that there has been no detrimental effect of climate legislation on international emissions

    Development aid and climate finance

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    This paper discusses the implications of climate change for official transfers from rich countries (the North) to poor countries (the South) when the motivation for transfers is ethical rather than strategic. Traditional development transfers to increase income and reduce poverty are complemented by new financial flows to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (mitigation transfers) and become climate-resilient (adaptation transfers). We find that in the absence of barriers to adaptation, mitigation or development, climate change will make isolated transfers less efficient: A large part of their intended effect (to increase income, reduce emissions, or boost climate-resilience) dissipates as the South reallocates its own resources to achieve the mitigation, adaptation and consumption balance it prefers. Only in the case of least-developed countries, which are unable to adapt fully due to income constraints, will adaptation support lead to more climate resilience. In all other cases, if the North wishes to change the balance between mitigation, adaptation and consumption it should structure its transfers as “matching grants”, which are tied to the South’s own level of funding. Alternatively, the North could provide an integrated “climate-compatible development” package that recognizes the combined climate and development requirements of the South. If the aim is to increase both mitigation and adaptation in the South, development assistance that increases the income level, can be an effective measure, but only if there is an international agreement and the recipient country is not income constrained. If the recipient country is very poor, development aid may reduce adaptation effort

    What next for local government climate emergency declarations? The gap between rhetoric and action

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    The UK, like other countries, has seen a proliferation of declarations of local climate emergencies. While these declarations have been interpreted as a demonstration of ambition, little is known about how and why they actually came about when they did and the implications this will have for what happens next. Focusing on London, UK, we present evidence collected via semi-structured interviews with experts and practitioners involved in the propagation of climate emergency declarations to critically explore how and why these declarations emerged, and the various different roles they are perceived to play for different local actors. Our findings reveal four journeys to local government declaration of a climate emergency (made actively from above, passively from above, actively from below, and passively from across) and three interwoven purposes (statements of intent, acting as a political gesture, and stimulating local action). We argue that these three purposes combine and coalesce to correlate the declaration of climate emergency with a local responsibility for emissions reduction, leaving little analytical space to question the scalar disconnect between the immediacy of the narrative at local scales and the slow-burning (and) global nature of the threat in question. If these emergency declarations are to be an opportunity for change in the governance of climate change, then the question of ‘what next?’ requires more in-depth, thorough and constructive engagement with the type of climate action the declarations are expected to induce while considering how this aligns with existing responsibilities and resource bases of local government

    The political economy of passing climate change legislation: evidence from a survey

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    Climate change is now a major aspect of public policy. There are almost 500 identified climate change laws in the world’s leading economies. This paper reviews the main domestic factors that drive this legislation. The analysis is based on a unique dataset of climate legislation in 66 national jurisdictions for the period 1990–2013. We find that the passage of new climate laws is influenced by several factors. One important factor is the quantity and quality of previous legislation: the propensity to pass more laws decreases non-linearly with the stock of existing legislation, but increases in the presence of a strategic “flagship law” that sets an overall framework for climate policy. Contrary to widespread belief, political orientation is not a decisive factor. We find no significant difference in the number of laws passed by left-wing and right-wing governments, except perhaps in Anglo-Saxon countries. However, left-leaning governments are more inclined to pass laws in difficult economic times. Despite these elements of bipartisanship, political economy factors still matter: In democracies climate laws are less likely to be passed immediately before an election and legislation is aided by a strong executive that can take on vested interests

    Adaptation to climate change

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    This article reviews the economic and analytical challenges of adaptation to climate change. Adaptation to climate risks that can no longer be avoided is an important aspect of the global response to climate change. Humans have always adapted to changing climatic conditions, and there is growing, if still patchy, evidence of widespread adaptation behavior. However, adaptation is not autonomous as sometimes claimed. It requires knowledge, planning, coordination, and foresight. There are important knowledge gaps, behavioral barriers, and market failures that hold back effective adaptation and require policy intervention. We identify the most urgent adaptation priorities, including areas where delay might lock in future vulnerability, and outline the decision-making challenges of adapting to an unknown future climate. We also highlight the strong interlinkages between adaptation and economic development, pointing out that decisions on industrial strategy, urban planning, and infrastructure investment all have a strong bearing on future vulnerability to climate change. We review the implications of these links for adaptation finance and what the literature tells us about the balance between adaptation and mitigation

    Global lessons from climate change legislation and litigation

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    There is no country in the world that does not have at least one law or policy dealing with climate change. The most prolific countries have well over 20, and globally there are 1,800 such laws. Some of them are executive orders or policies issued by governments, others are legislative acts passed by parliament. The judiciary has been involved in 1,500 court cases that concern climate change (more than 1,100 of which were in the United States). We use Climate Change Laws of the World, a publicly accessible database, to analyze patterns and trends in climate change legislation and litigation over the past 30 years. The data reveal that global legislative activity peaked around 2009–14, well before the Paris Agreement. Accounting for effectiveness in implementation and the length of time laws have been in place, the United Kingdom and South Korea are the most comprehensive legislators among G20 countries and Spain within the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Climate change legislation is less of a partisan issue than is commonly assumed: the number of climate laws passed by governments of the left, center, and right is roughly proportional to their time in office. We also find that legislative activity decreases in times of economic difficulty. Where courts have gotten involved, judges outside the United States have ruled in favor of enhanced climate protection in about half of the cases (US judges are more inclined to rule against climate protection)

    The impact of strategic climate legislation: evidence from expert interviews on the UK Climate Change Act

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    This paper assesses the importance of a strategic legal framework for action against climate change, using the UK Climate Change Act as an example. Passed in 2008, the Climate Change Act is one of the earliest and most prominent examples of framework legislation on climate change. It contains several innovative features that have since been replicated in other framework laws. We use stakeholder interviews to assess the strengths of the Act and whether it has succeeded in creating an integrated, informed and forward-looking policy process. Respondents felt that the Act had established a firm long-term framework with a clear direction of travel. However, they differed on whether the Act provided sufficient policy certainty and protection against political backsliding. Most respondents felt that the Act had changed the institutional context and the processes through which climate change is addressed. As a result, interviewees believe that the Act has helped UK climate policy to become better informed, more forward looking and better guided by statutory routines

    Climate change legislation in South Korea

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    노트 : An Excerpt from The 2015 Global Climate Legislation StudyA Review of Climate Change Legislation in 99 Countrie
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