Towards National Legislation for Climate Protection
New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
Edited by Marjan Peeters, Mark Stallworthy and Javier de Cendra de Larragán
Chapter 6: Prospects for the UK’s national approach to climate law-making
The huge tests for policy and law makers from climate change are usefully captured in the idea of climate ‘exceptionalism’, with challenges of a different order to those posed by more bounded forms of pollution threat. Indeed in efforts to tackle climate change, what appears to be a still deteriorating situation suggests a chronic ‘crisis of governance’, as institutional law policy frameworks struggle to develop suitable responses. Furthermore, in light of the international experience of endemic conflict and weak progress, it is through state and regional legal frameworks that for now the more likely catalysts are to be found toward meaningful progress. At the same time, any success achieved would offer, into the longer term, potential for prompting the building of the necessary coalitions for shifting the agendas of global institutions. For EU member states, these challenges are increasingly being mediated at an EU level, pursuant to the quickening pace of development of EU initiatives in climate law. Such are the limitations on EU competences in relevant fields, such as fiscal policy and spatial planning, as well as a still nascent energy role, that for now the locus for seeking solutions, and more particularly for resolving tensions between climate and other policy priorities and legal precepts, remains at member state level.
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