In November 2020, the government announced an ambitious ten-point plan to boost green jobs and reach net-zero. The plan was a recent recognition at a national-level of the pressing need to combat climate change. It addresses an expansive set of topics: from offshore wind to walking and cycling; from carbon capture to finance. The proposals suggest regulatory changes in respect of nuclear power, buildings and finance form part of the plan.
The Climate Change Committee expects that businesses will be the primary drivers of the net-zero emissions target and provide the majority of investment required for the green transition. Therefore, any new regulations and regulatory action in this area must take into account the reality for businesses and consumers. This will provide the most effective means of switching to low-carbon solutions in circumstances where businesses are expected to be significant contributors to reach net-zero.
Andrew Lidbetter and Shameem Ahmad have prepared a paper focusing on the extent to which regulators are currently obliged to take into account climate change policy when making decisions to better inform businesses of the direction of travel in this area. The paper provides an overview of the general legislative landscape in respect of climate change, considering whether and how regulators are impacted by that high-level legislation. It then considers the variety of tools that regulators are using in respect of climate change in the energy, transport, finance and construction sectors.