The UK Climate Change Committee, 2009 to 2020: a mixed methods analysis of its statutory advisory functions, recommendations, and policy influence

Dudley, Harriet (2023) The UK Climate Change Committee, 2009 to 2020: a mixed methods analysis of its statutory advisory functions, recommendations, and policy influence. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Climate advisory bodies have proliferated in recent decades and are now established in over 40 countries. Their primary role is to produce recommendations for national policymakers. Some scholars contend such bodies are critical for effective climate governance and assert policymakers increasingly rely on their recommendations. Despite these claims, very little is known about their functions, recommendations, and influence on mitigation and – especially - adaptation policy.

This thesis focuses on the UK Climate Change Committee (CCC), the oldest advisory body of its kind in the world, in the period 2009 to 2020. Through a mixed methods analysis of over 300 documents and 700 of the CCC’s recommendations, it examines how and why the CCC’s advisory functions were formulated in the 2008 Climate Change Act and explores the characteristics of its recommendations, including their repetition. It combines insights from a regression analysis of the government’s written responses to its recommendations and 36 elite interviews to reveal the conditions under which the CCC’s recommendations were used by UK Government officials, or not. In short, the CCC’s influence was instrumental under some conditions, such as during or following extreme weather events, and it slowly shifted the thinking of actors under other conditions, particularly through the slow and steady diffusion of its recommendations into the policy system.

This thesis makes three original contributions to the existing literature. First, it provides a novel synthesis of the literatures on knowledge utilisation and climate policy. It offers a conceptual framework to analyse the conditions under which recommendations are more likely to be used by policymakers. It identifies four causal conditions, empirically tests these claims, and inductively reveals a further four conditions. Second, it provides novel insights into why the CCC’s statutory advisory functions were circumscribed, including concerns about its balance of power with the government. Third, it reveals that, whilst the characteristics of recommendations do influence how they are used, if at all, exogenous conditions were predominant, particularly stakeholder support, the prevailing policy context, and the political priorities of the incumbent government. Interviews with government officials provide detailed insights into the internal politics that ultimately determined whether, how, and why the CCC’s recommendations were used.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Chris White
Date Deposited: 12 Jun 2024 08:13
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2024 08:56


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