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Title: Governance for the low carbon transition : the UK's energy decarbonisation process and the challenges of devolution
Author: Muinzer, Thomas Louis
ISNI:       0000 0004 5991 4026
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2015
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This study investigates aspects of the UK Low Carbon Transition. The project addresses the impact of devolution upon the structures and processes underpinning the UK's national climate and energy governance framework, as articulated most significantly in law by the Climate Change Act 2008 and its supporting legislation. The study is built around a central Research Question: 'Is the UK's energy decarbonisation process, as established by the Climate Change Act 2008, potentially unworkable in the context of devolution?' The Climate Change Act 2008 imposes rigorous national greenhouse gas reduction targets upon the UK; however, the impact exerted upon the framework's processes and objectives by the presence and influence of devolution remains shrouded in uncertainty: This study enhances knowledge in this area by investigating the nature and influence of devolution. A multi-level governance approach to analysis is adopted, which locates and explores the UK-level governance architecture within its broader EU-UK-devolved multilevel setting. Doctrinal legal analysis is also employed, in particular to interrogate the manner in which the provisions of the Climate Change Act 2008 account for the UK's devolved jurisdictions. A doctrinal 'mapping of powers' analysis is also applied to the UK constitutional settlement in order to determine the precise manner in which the constitutional arrangements have positioned influential decarbonisation-specific energy controls across multiple tiers of government. In the study's latter stages a comparative case study analysis targets Northern Ireland and Scotland and is integrated into the wider critique. The findings reveal that the success of the 'national' UK decarbonisation framework is partially and significantly contingent upon a pronounced degree of substate action that must work in conjunction with robust and progressive co-operation across the UK's multilevels. The latent arrangement of constitutional and other core legal powers across the national and substate tiers imbues the devolved jurisdictions with a greater degree of power and control over national energy decarbonisation processes than had hitherto been realised. The findings also permit recommendations to be drawn concerning the extent to which the latent constitutional and climate powers exposed by doctrinal legal analysis might conceivably be adjusted in the interest of enhancing the UK's cumulative multi-level energy decarbonisation capacity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available