Article 2 of 20- “Charting Climate Governance in the UK”

So, I was looking for an article that explained “this is how UK climate policy has developed – here are the important policy [and other] documents, and here is how key points played out”. And … I found it.

Bulkeley, H. 2015. Charting Climate Change Governance in the United Kingdom. ACCOMPLISHING CLIMATE GOVERNANCE, 24–53. Cambridge University Press DOI:

It’s Chapter 2 of a book, and so the end of the chapter, which explains the rest of the book, may not be of as much interest, but the first 20 pages do exactly what they say/I was looking for, with aplomb, and help me focus in on key battles. I’ve added various bits to the UK climate governance timeline, but for now, these quotes and some interesting references (not exhaustive, and excludes ones already sitting on my UK climate governance references page).

The whole thing is pitch perfect, but for my current purposes, the following quotes suffice.

“Following the successful negotiation and signature of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the United Kingdom government published its first Climate Change Programme (Department of the Environment 1994) – a collection of measures to be undertaken in order to achieve the goal of emissions reductions by 2000 (Lovell et al. 2009). At the heart of the approach was a focus on improving domestic energy efficiency, through the introduction of a value-added tax on domestic fuel and establishing the Energy Savings Trust as an independent government body to provide advice and information to the public on how they might save energy at home. However, these measures were restricted in scope and ambition and with ‘emissions of greenhouse gases falling relative to
1990 levels, there was limited appetite for engaging in additional policies and measures’ (Lovell et al. 2009: 95).” (Bulkeley, 2015: 27-8).


“With the exception of the waste sector, this impetus to seek to reduce demand as a way of managing infrastructure, land and environmental issues came under significant pressure (Owens & Cowell 2011), and was quickly disbanded along with the Department for Environment, Transport and the Regions, which in 2001 was separated into the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs and the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions” (Bulkeley, 2015: 28)

Owens, Susan and Cowell, Richard (2011) Land and Limits: Interpreting Sustainability in the Planning Process, 2nd edition, Routledge, London


“The Labour government released a new Climate Change Programme in 2000, containing both the promise of a new suite of practical instruments and acknowledgement of the long-term challenges ahead. These innovative policy instruments faired a little better than efforts to integrate climate change into other sectors. Although when then-chancellor Gordon Brown ‘proposed the new Climate Change Levy in 1999 he was subjected to an extremely hostile, well-organized business lobby demanding that his proposals be watered down’ (Carter 2014: 424), a version of this policy instrument was nonetheless introduced in 2001. Designed to target the largest energy users, the Climate Change Levy was a tax on business energy use offset by a reduction in their contribution to National Insurance payments. The most energy-intensive business sectors negotiated an alternative Climate Change Agreement, whereby they were exempt from 80 per cent of the Climate Change Levy subject to attaining agreed emissions reductions commitments (Lorenzoni et al. 2008: 106–7).” (Bulkeley, 2015: 28-9)


Allen, John (2004) The whereabouts of power: Politics, government and space, Geografiska Annaler 86 B (1): 19–32.

Allen, John and Cochrane, Allan (2010) Assemblages of state power: Topological shifts in the organization of government and politics, Antipode, 42 (5): 1071–89.

Blok, Anders (2011) Clash of the eco-sciences: Carbon marketization, environmental NGOs and performativity as politics, Economy and Society, 40 (3): 451–76.

British Gas (2012) Welcome to Green Streets, available online: http://www.britishgas. (accessed February 2014).

Carter, Neil (2008) Confronting climate change in the UK: Challenges and obstacles, Political Quarterly, 79 (2): 194–205

Carter, Neil (2014) The politics of climate change in the UK, Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change 5 (3): 423–33.

Carter, Neil and Jacobs, Michael (2014)) Explaining radical policy change: The case of climate change and energy policy under the British Labour government 2006–2010, Public Administration 92 (1): 125–41.

CBI [Confederation of British Industry] (2014) The colour of growth: Maximising the potential of green business. Available online: uk/media/1552876/energy_climatechangerpt_web.pdf (accessed February 2015).

Eyre, Nick (2001) Carbon reduction in the real world: How the UK will surpass its Kyoto obligations, Climate Policy, 1: 309–26.

Gibbs, David, Longhurst, James and Braithwaite, Clare (1998) ‘Struggling with sustainability’: Weak and strong interpretations of sustainable development within local authority policy, Environment and Planning A, 30: 1351–65

Guardian, The (2006) The year the world woke up, 20 December, p. 7.

Guardian, The (2014a) George Osborne defeated in attempt to weaken UK carbon budget, 22 July. Available online: environment/2014/jul/22/george-osborne-defeated-in-attempt-to-weakenuk-carbon-budget (accessed February 2015)

Hulme, Mike and Turnpenny, John (2004) Understanding and managing climate change: The UK experience, Geographical Journal, 170 (2): 105–15.

Lorenzoni, Irene, O’Riordan, Tim and Pidgeon, Nick (2008) Hot air and cold feet: The UK response to climate change, in Compston, H. and Bailey, I. (eds) Turning Down the Heat: The Politics of Climate Policy in Affluent Democracies, Palgrave, Basingstoke, pp. 104–24.

Lovell, Heather, Bulkeley, Harriet and Owens, Susan (2009) Converging agendas? Energy and climate change policies in the UK, Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 27 (1) 90–109.

MacKenzie, Donald and Pardo-Guerra, Juan P (2014) Insurgent capitalism: Island, bricolage and the re-making of finance, Economy and Society, 43 (2): 153–82.

Marres, Noortje (2011) The costs of public involvement: Everyday devices of carbon accounting and the materialization of participation, Economy and Society, 40 (4): 510–33.

Owens, Susan (2010) Learning across levels of governance: Expert advice and the adoption of carbon dioxide emissions reduction targets in the UK, Global Environmental Change, 20: 394–401.

Timmermans, Stefan and Epstein, Steven (2010) A world of standards but not a standard world: Toward a sociology of standards and standardization, Annual Review Sociology, 36: 69–89.

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