Greg Marsden and Jillian Anable
The Paris Agreement requires radical action across all policy sectors and at all scales of government. This paper argues that without a clear framework for sectoral budget setting which takes account of interactions across spatial scales, incoherent and inadequate policy responses will result. Using a case study of the transport sector within the UK, which has committed to a zero carbon pathway in law, we look at three key elements which have to be considered in setting out a new framework: budget coherence, accounting coherence and policy coherence. Using top-down and bottom-up examples emerging from practices today in the UK, we demonstrate that there are no ‘optimal’ solutions but a set of choices, all of which appear to be better than the patchwork of approaches emerging in the absence of a framework. A multi-scalar approach is essential as transport crosses spatial boundaries and the policy system places different levers at different scales. Transparency will be beneficial for honesty with the public and the difficult politics this rapid transition necessitates. It will also mitigate against blame shifting across governments between and within scales and the resultant inaction which characterized the previous decade of supposed ‘climate action’.
Marsden, G. and Anable, J. 2021. Behind the targets? The case for coherence in a multi-scalar approach to carbon action plans in the transport sector. Sustainability, 13(13): 7122. doi: 10.3390/su13137122Opens in a new tab
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