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The Committee on Climate Change: A policy analysis

Peter McGregor () and Matthew A Winning

No 2010-111, SIRE Discussion Papers from Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE)

Abstract: Domestic action on climate change is increasingly important in the light of the difficulties with international agreements and requires a combination of solutions, in terms of institutions and policy instruments. One way of achieving government carbon policy goals may be the creation of an independent body to advise, set or monitor policy. This paper critically assesses the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), which was created in 2008 as an independent body to help move the UK towards a low carbon economy. We look at the motivation for its creation in terms of: information provision, advice, monitoring, or policy delegation. In particular we consider its ability to overcome a time inconsistency problem by comparing and contrasting it with another independent body, the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England. In practice the Committee on Climate Change appears to be the ‘inverse’ of the Monetary Policy Committee, in that it advises on what the policy goal should be rather than being responsible for achieving it. The CCC incorporates both advisory and monitoring functions to inform government and achieve a credible carbon policy over a long time frame. This is a similar framework to that adopted by Stern (2006), but the CCC operates on a continuing basis. We therefore believe the CCC is best viewed as a "Rolling Stern plus" body. There are also concerns as to how binding the budgets actually are and how the budgets interact with other energy policy goals and instruments, such as Renewable Obligation Contracts and the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. The CCC could potentially be reformed to include: an explicit information provision role; consumption-based accounting of emissions and control of a policy instrument such as a balanced-budget carbon tax.

Keywords: Climate change; Carbon policy; Independent body; Time Inconsistency (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2010
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