Climate change policy and the transition to a low-carbon economy
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- Publisher: Institute for Public Policy Research
Energy is of fundamental importance for modern industrialised economies. Access to affordable energy is vital for the services we enjoy – from keeping warm to cooking our food, the ability to travel to providing entertainment. In recent years, policy concerns about the availability, security and affordability of energy have once again risen up the agenda. Energy prices have risen dramatically, and the UK has returned to the club of net energy importers after twenty years in which production exceeded consumption. \ud \ud Since the early 2000s, climate change has been at the heart of energy policy debates. Unlike some industrialised countries (notably Australia and the United States), the UK’s energy and climate change policies have been underpinned by a strong degree of cross-party consensus, with all the main political parties in agreement that something must be done to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This consensus has been reinforced by the increasing strength of climate science and evidence to suggest that action on emissions is in the UK’s economic interest (Stern 2006). Armed with a comprehensive case for emissions cuts, the UK’s political parties have often competed with each other to propose tougher policies and laws. For this reason, the UK has some of the most ambitious targets for emissions reduction in the world, with legal backing through the Climate Change Act 2009.
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