Imaginative Approaches to Combating Climate Change Locally
Edited by Michael Peters, Shane Fudge and Tim Jackson
Chapter 4: Transforming the Nation-state through Environmentalism: Political Influences on a Multi-level Governance Framework in the UK
4. Transforming the nation-state through environmentalism: political influences on a multi-level governance framework in the UK Shane Fudge INTRODUCTION Environmental issues have become more central to government decisionmaking in the UK in recent years, gaining a noticeably higher profile in relation to the traditional hierarchy of policy. The effects of industrial oil spills, ozone depletion, atmospheric pollution, and more recently the risks posed by global climate change, have all served to inform the political agenda in a much more visible way than was previously the case. A series of Energy White Papers during the last decade have been amongst the higher profile policy statements regarding the UK Government’s intention to address the urgency of climate change through mainstream policy. This intent was confirmed in 2006 by the appearance of the government financed Stern Review which provided a comprehensive economic, social and environmental hypothesis of future scenarios should the UK fail to react to the reality of climate change. Even more significantly, the 2008 Climate Change Bill – incorporating the UK Government’s pledge to cut CO2 emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 – clearly indicates a more central role for environmental issues in consideration of the UK’s present and future policy agenda. In a broader political sense, as Giddens (2000) has argued, the last three decades have seen decision-making competencies in the West move away from a previous emphasis on top-down implementation. He points out that there has been an observable shift towards greater de-centralization, wider political engagement and more open democratic...
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