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Gewählte Publikation:

Nash, SL; Steurer, R.
(2019): Taking stock of Climate Change Acts in Europe: living policy processes or symbolic gestures?
CLIM POLICY. 2019; 19(8): 1052-1065. FullText FullText_BOKU

Since the UK introduced a Climate Change Act (CCA) in 2008, similar legislation has followed in a number of states, with each having a slightly different take. What unites these examples is that they all represent framework legislation that aims to facilitate climate change mitigation by creating continuous policy processes whereby mechanisms for the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are developed and implemented. This article is concerned with the extent to which they are living policy processes or rather symbolic gestures. We analyse seven European CCAs with regard to GHG emission reduction targets, planning/implementation mechanisms, and feedback/evaluations prescribed by the laws. These three features correspond with three aspects of climate policy integration (CPI): interpretations of CPI as a norm; CPI as a process of governing; CPI as a policy outcome. We show that CCAs address all three aspects of CPI and constitute living policy processes, although to varying extents. However, CCAs are also policy processes in that they are part of a political system, affected by political forces external to the legislation, positively and negatively. Key policy insights CCAs can provide a normative basis for policymaking on climate change at the national level, especially through quantitative emission reduction targets. Whilst CCAs can bring some stability and predictability to policymaking on climate change (mainly because legislation is more difficult to amend or remove than policy strategies), they are still vulnerable to political developments. Most CCAs lack either short/medium-term (Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Sweden) or long-term (Austria) targets. Given EU Member States' aim to decarbonise in the next three decades and the Paris Agreement's global goal of pursuing efforts to limit warming to 1.5 degrees C, states need to find ways to guide this process. One approach could be the inclusion of short-term, medium-term and long-term targets in their CCAs. Since sanctioning mechanisms are lacking across all the CCAs analysed here, it is not clear what will happen if legally binding targets are not met. Just as it is difficult to imagine speed limits and speed cameras without accompanying penalties, it is hard to imagine how CCAs without sanctions can deliver decarbonization.
Autor*innen der BOKU Wien:
Nash Sarah Louise
Steurer Reinhard

Find related publications in this database (Keywords)
Climate change mitigation
climate change policies
climate policy frameworks

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