Article 5 of 20 – Hot Air and Cold Feet

So, a book chapter rather than an article per se, and another good’un…

Lorenzoni, I. O’Riordan T. and Pidgeon, N. 2008. Hot Air and Cold Feet: The UK Response to lLimate Change. in eds Compston H. and Bailey, I. 2008 Turning Down the Heat: the Politics of Climate Policy in Affluent Democracies.London: Palgrave Macmillan

Thanks to this, and Carter 2014, I am getting a handle on the period 1997 to 2008 (nothing particularly serious seems to have happened pre-Blair, for various reasons). The key thing to drill down into, for my purposes, is business behaviour, and there are some leads to follow up here…

On the whole, this one, written in 2008 just before the Climate Change Bill became an Act, is full of super useful insights. The timeline is dead useful too-

Prior to the election of New Labour in 1997, the previous Conservative administration began a series of policy initiatives that inadvertently contributed to major reductions in UK Greenhouse gas emissions…. During the mid-1980s, Thatcher also presided over a bitter dispute with the coal miners which culminated in the phasing out of much of Britain’s coal production, followed in 1990 by the Conservative privatisation of the UK electricity industry. These essentially political events precipitated a major shift in UK energy production from coal to low-price gas, allowing subsequent governments to claim that the UK was on course to meet its Kyoto target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 12.5 per cent below 1990 levels by 2008-2012. The demise of heavy engineering sectors in the early 1990s added to the UK’s beneficial but serendipitous emissions reductions, while the introduction of an ‘escalator’  on road-fuel taxes in 1994 (later dropped) further added to the Tory contribution.

(Lorenzoni et al. 2008: 104)

… we argue that the UK is suffering from a severe mismatch between good political intentions and reality. A number of factors account for this; however, we focus in particular on structural inadequacies within the UK’s political system of environmental governance, coupled with a failure of the ecological modernization thesis’ emphasis on purely technological and market-based solutions.

(Lorenzoni et al. 2008: 105)

2006 heralded a further shift in the underpinnings of UK energy policy. Despite pre-election promises, the new UK Climate Change Programme announced tha the nation would narrowly fail to achieve its interim target of a 20 per cent cut in C)2 emissions by 2010 and instead would achieve a cut of only 15-18 per cent.

(Lorenzoni et al. 2008: 109)

Super-useful timeline on page 110-111

Stern “captured the attention of aware and concerned  public and business sectors  worldwide (Jordan and Lorenzoni, 2007)

(Lorenzoni et al. 2008: 111)

To date the UK government’s aspiration of initiating a transition to a low-carbon economy have focused predominantly on (1) restructuring and diversification of future energy supply options, embedded within considerations about energy security and reliability but increasingly reframed in terms of climate change mitigation (Pidgeon et al. 2008); (ii) market mechanisms for reducing emissions from business sectors, and (iii) information diffusion to encourage attitudinal and behavioural change by mans such as encouraging or mandating new standards, more energy efficient products and better labelling, and by direct ‘social marketing’.

(Lorenzoni et al. 2008: 113)

Structural factors rooted within the UK’s system of Cabinet Government also obstruct vigorous action on climate change. There is no coherent system of policy coordination in the Cabinet structure that prioritizes climate change as a strategic economic, social, environmental and instittuional issue. The Economy and the Environment Cabinet Committee remains in the Treasury and strongly influenced by the business enterprise culture favoured by ecological modernists…

(Lorenzoni et al. 2008: 115)

These departmental disjunctions have perpetuated disjointed governance of a cross-cutting issue par excellence. Strong lobbying by corporate and other interests have, as a result, led to watered-down or inconsistent policies.

(Lorenzoni et al. 2008: 115)

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