Climate change laws explored by Stirling expert

Back to news

The UK Government’s approach to tackling climate change via legislation has been examined by a University of Stirling academic.

Dr Thomas Muinzer, Lecturer in Environmental Law and Public Law, has considered the origins, enactment and impact of the UK’s landmark 2008 Climate Change Act, in the 10th anniversary year of the world’s first comprehensive national climate legislation.

He said: "The UK’s Climate Change Act provided the first instance in the world where a country placed legally binding long-term emissions reduction targets upon itself in order to combat climate change.

"As such, in this crucial area of environmental governance, UK law and policy has pioneered a very particular form of national framework, and many other countries are beginning to follow suit, with some basing their approach on what the UK has done."


Dr Muinzer’s study also considers: the political background to the Act and importance to the UK Low Carbon Transition plan; its technical content and practical consequences; debates in environmental studies, political and legal literature; its international significance; as well as its impact in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

Dr Muinzer, based in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, said: “The UK’s climate framework engages all of the UK’s major socio-economic sectors; however, in this study, the energy sector – encompassing electricity and heat generation – is a central focus because it’s the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK and internationally.

“As such, it’s the sector most directly acted on by the 2008 framework at the present time, and the high level of emissions arising from energy mean that adequate energy decarbonisation is absolutely essential to the UK Low Carbon Transition’s success.

“I hope my interdisciplinary study will be useful to anyone – both in the UK and around the world – engaged in environmental studies, law, policy analysis and governance.”

Dr Muinzer’s work, Climate and Energy Governance for the UK Low Carbon Transition: The Climate Change Act 2008, is now available.

You may also be interested in