UK Climate Change Act 2008
- Target for 2050: reduce six greenhouse gases by 80% relative to 1990 levels
- Led to creation of an independent Committee on Climate Change which would advise government on policies needed for the transition to a low-carbon economy
- Duty of meeting Act’s targets lies with Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (in 2008, this was ex-leader of the UK Labour Party, Ed Miliband MP)
Global climate change policy: Paris Agreement
- 194 signatories; ratified by 117 parties; signed on the 22nd April 2016
- Agreement to hold temperatures to 2 °C above pre-industrial levels (or less)
- However, 1.5 °C is the aspirational target (2 °C = merely the worst case scenario)
- Also agreed less developed countries would be given finance to help with their transition to a low-carbon economy, without diluting their economic development
Three arguments in favour of tackling climate change
- Policies cost money but the cost of not acting could be even greater due to the likely impacts of global warming (worth noting impact would be spatially uneven)
- “Green” can also be good for business e.g. installing energy saving light bulbs can reduce both carbon emissions and costs, thus also benefitting.
- sustainability: citizens have a moral responsibility to improve global living standards without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs and wants.
Three possible complications
- World poverty: 1.2 billion people worldwide are estimated to live less than $1.25 a day- challenge is tackling global warming whilst improving global living standards
- Tackling global warming requires transboundary cooperation: victory for Trump and Brexit vote arguably illustrates the rise of economic nationalism- realistically, do nation-states have the appetite to work together to tackle climate change?
- Vague nature of agreements: nation-states still pursuing GDP growth agendas
- Colgan, J. (2016). ‘Trump wants to impose a whopping 35% tariff on businesses that move jobs overseas. This is why.‘, The Washington Post, December 4th [Online]. Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/11/29/donald-trump-is-an-economic-nationalist-whats-an-economic-nationalist/?utm_term=.e74857b00232
- Harvey, F. (2015). ‘Paris climate change agreement: the world’s greatest diplomatic success’, The Guardian, 14th December [Online]. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/13/paris-climate-deal-cop-diplomacy-developing-united-nations
- Nuccitelli, D. (2014)’. ‘The top ten global warming ‘skeptic’ arguments answered’, The Guardian, 6th Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2014/may/06/top-ten-global-warming-skeptic-arguments-debunked
- Rose, D. (2016). ‘Bombshell Report Shows UK Climate Policy Will Cost £319 Billion By 2030’, Mail on Sunday, 11th December [Online]. Available at: http://www.thegwpf.com/bombshell-report-shows-climate-policy-will-cost-319-billion-by-2030/