Activity: Participating in or organising an event types › Participation in conference
'Climate Change, Statutory Duties and Ministerial Frustration'
This paper considers the range of statutory duties imposed on ministers by the Climate Change Acts. These include the duty to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050 (s.1); ensure that the UK's net carbon account does not exceed the budget (s.4(1)); have regard to UK domestic action (s. 15); report to parliament (s.56) etc etc.As they regard the countryside and the farming sector in particular, what is the nature of these legal duties? An answer is attempted by reference to the existing caselaw on the enforceability of statutory duties. In addition I argue that empirical considerations ought to be addressed as they alter the Œfulfil-ability‚ of the duties. Unlike a duty to eliminate fuel poverty, achieving 80% emission reductions lies outwith government fiat as the vast majority of UK emissions issue from the private sector, not the public. Moreover the technology to achieve such reductions does not actually exist ˆ by 2050 they may have come into being but at present they are unknown unknowns. There also remains a question, currently being teased out in the renewables context, as to whether the contractual arrangements necessary for RE projects does not stifle roll-out.The more concrete of the CCA‚s duties, I will argue, may be seen therefore as sui generis and unenforceable, raising the possibility of a future Secretary of State offering a defence similar to frustration in contract law.