Combating climate change in the UK: Challenges and obstacles

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There is a curious disjunction between the Labour Government's international actions and its domestic policy. Although Tony Blair did much to promote the climate change agenda on the international stage, domestically, with carbon emissions rising again, the Government will fail to meet its target of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 20% below 1990 levels by 2010. This article examines the weaknesses in the Labour Government's domestic record and assesses the significance of the recent transformation of climate change politics. Several obstacles to the design and delivery of more effective policies are identified, which can be categorised as either problems of 'environmental politics' or 'environmental governance'. It is argued that the recent politicisation of climate change has overcome some of these obstacles - albeit temporarily - but whether the pressure for further policy measures can be sustained, with a long-term impact on environmental governance, remains uncertain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-205
Number of pages12
JournalPolitical Quarterly
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2008


  • climate change
  • Labour Government
  • environmental politics
  • environmental policy
  • environmental governance

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