The management of local greenhouse gas emissions.
Climate change is recognized as a major threat to humanity and action is being taken at various spatial levels to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Most efforts at the local level are focused on the development and implementation of policies to tackle climate change but there is little research on how their progress is measured. This thesis explores the progress of UK local authorities on climate change and discusses policy initiatives that can assist them to improve performance. The research consists of three parts: firstly, a review of the relatively sparse literature regarding local greenhouse gas management; secondly, an evaluation of the UK postcode energy statistics for local carbon dioxide emissions estimates; thirdly, a survey on sustainable energy and climate policy development and implementation that explores the transfer of expertise from successful UK Beacon Councils for Sustainable Energy to less successful UK local authorities. Climate change at the local level in the UK is a complex and fast changing policy domain with local authorities being key players. Comprehensive climate policies by local authorities can contribute towards meeting UK national and international climate change targets. Reliable emissions data are now available and longitudinal data could be used in the future to partly assess the progress of local climate change policies. Nevertheless, there are insufficient years of reliable data for a historical analysis. Few local authorities of the survey use community emissions estimates internally as a strategic driver for improving climate policies. Lack of resources and time are found to be the main barriers to action for the surveyed local authorities, and engaging with the wider community is a challenge. The findings of the research suggest that the UK local authorities can improve their effectiveness on climate change by developing: strong leadership for carbon policies, a critical mass of key staff; interdisciplinary working; integration of greenhouse gas management with other policy areas; sharing of know-how between authorities.
- MPhil