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Tin anniversary – the Climate Change Act 2008 at 10

Tom Crisp Editor

Last month, on 26 November, marked the tenth anniversary of the Climate Change Act 2008 receiving Royal Assent. Below, we consider the impact of the legislation and discuss how the landscape has changed in the intervening decade. Nice not naughty Rewinding back to before the passage of the act in the 2005 General Election, climate change barely featured as an issue. The main impetus came from the Big Ask campaign, launched in 2005 and spearheaded by Friends of the Earth, which sought to secure legislative commitment to a 3% annual reduction in CO2 emissions. By November 2006, 412 out of 612 MPs had signed an Early Day Motion backing the target. This met a receptive audience both in government and opposition, with David Miliband appointed to Defra in 2006 and David Cameron appointed Conservative Party Leader. The bill started in the Lords, with Third Reading in the Commons taking place on the 28 October 2008 – 483 MPs voted for and just three voted against (Christopher Chope, Peter Lilley and Andrew Tyrie). Greg Clark, then Shadow DECC Secretary (and of course, current BEIS Secretary), noted the remarkable breadth of consensus that had formed: “This Bill has attracted an unusual spirit of cross-party co-operation in both Houses. That is appropriate, because to succeed [it] must lay foundations that endure from one Parliament to the other and indeed, eventually, from one generation to another”. It was very much that need to provide long-term certainty that underpinned the legislation as a whole. The main provisions of the Climate Change Act are two-fold: the ...

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