Report: Climate Change Aims Need To Be Better Integrated Into Land Use Planning, Economic and Transport Policies
|The policy levels at which climate policy integration may take place. Source: Mickwitz et al. (2009) Click to enlarge.|
Specific measures to tackle climate change, such as emissions trading, will only be successful if they are coherently supported by other government policies addressing economic and social issues, according to a report published 26 March by the Partnership for European Environmental Research (PEER).
The report explains that, in order to create an effective, Europe-wide climate policy, climate change issues must be better integrated into both general and sector-specific policies such as taxation, transportation, and land use planning. By doing this the necessary changes in production processes and consumption patterns to tackle climate change will be achieved.
Although the inclusion of climate change mitigation and adaptation in general governmental programmes and strategies has substantially increased in recent years, much more is needed in terms of integrating climate issues into specific policy measures. Annual budgets, environmental impact assessments and spatial planning procedures are three examples of existing measures which we believe have significant potential to be climate policy instruments.—lead author, Dr. Per Mickwitz, from the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE)
The new report assesses the degree of climate policy integration in six different European countries, at national and local levels, as well as within key policy sectors such as energy and transport. It analyses measures and means to enhance climate policy integration and improve policy coherence.
The report shows that when climate policy is integrated into an increasing number of policy sectors such as energy, transport and land use, many latent conflicts are reopened. These include conflicts over nuclear power, taxation, hydro power, mobility and other issues involving values and ideology. If such conflicts are not recognized early they provide a barrier to effective climate policy integration.
It is becoming evident to politicians as well as the general public that if high consumption societies are going to tackle climate change, significant changes in production as well as consumption processes will be required. These changes will concern fundamental features of life, such as food, energy, mobility and land use. The relevance of climate policy integration is thus straightforward; the necessary change cannot be achieved unless climate change is taken into account in the general and sector-specific policies essential for economic activities and general social organization.
Whilst the need for climate policy integration is easy to recognize, attaining it in practice is challenging. In addition, promoting policy integration instead of issue specific policies is also an old way resisting change, by diffusing attention and by making the means and resources for policy implementation weak, while declaring support for change through proclaimed integration. There is a huge need to evaluate stated climate policy integration claims and to extend such evaluation from general strategies to specific actions.
...Effective climate policy integration will require sufficient resources in the form of knowledge and money. Without these resources, there will be no realistic possibility of truly recognizing the links between general or sectoral policies and climate change or of finding alternatives and implement them. Given the great complexity of the socio-economic processes that result in greenhouse gas emissions, as well as those of adapting to a changing climate, policies need to be based on learning.
In order to provide the basis for such a reflexive climate policy integration, interventions should be monitored, proposed interventions should be assessed and retrospective evaluations of decisions made and implemented should be conducted. In view of the meagre culture of environmental policy and programme evaluation in Europe, providing the input for such a learning process is a huge challenge.—Mickwitz et al. (2009)
Mickwitz, P et al. (2009). Climate policy integration, coherence and governance. PEER report no 2. Partnership for European Environmental Research, Helsinki.