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Examining the politics of climate change

22 Rhagfyr 2008

Political strategies to promote effective policies to combat climate change will be revealed in a major new book.

Turning Down the Heat: The Politics of Climate Change in Affluent Democracies is edited by Dr Hugh Compston, from Cardiff University, and Dr Ian Bailey, from the University of Plymouth.

The book, published by Palgrave Macmillan, seeks to make a landmark contribution to debates on political strategies to make rapid and major cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

Dr Bailey said: "Although the science of climate change is becoming increasingly clear and many policy options exist, governments around the world have been reluctant to bring in strong policies to tackle climate change because they are worried about losing support from big business and from voters. The main stumbling block to more effective climate policy is this lack of political willingness to take the necessary policy measures."

Climate change has been on the agenda increasingly over the last decade, particularly since the Stern Review and the release of the Al Gore film, An Inconvenient Truth. Unlike previous books, which have focused on the science of climate change or international negotiations, Turning Down the Heat moves the debate forward. It examines why governments around the world have failed to introduce effective policies to tackle the problem - despite widespread public awareness of climate change and technological advances to cut greenhouse gas emissions - and explores political strategies that may be used to overcome these obstacles.

Dr Compston said: "As well as identifying the main political obstacles to more radical action on climate change, the country chapters give us clear indications about how governments can go about overcoming these obstacles."

Dr Bailey and Dr Compston are at the forefront of academic work in this area and contributions to the book have been written by members of the Politics of Climate Change Project, an international network of experts on the issue from Europe, America, Canada, Australia and Japan.

Dr Bailey and Dr Compston’s work on climate change policy has been recognised by organisations including the World Bank and the Department for International Development.


Notes to Editors:

For more information, please telephone Liz Parks in the University of Plymouth press office on 01752 588003 or Stephen Rouse in the Cardiff University press office on 02920 875596 or e-mail .

Cardiff University

Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities.

2008 marks the 125th anniversary of Cardiff University having been founded by Royal Charter in 1883.

Today the University combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise in research and research-led teaching encompasses: the humanities; the natural, physical, health, life and social sciences; engineering and technology; preparation for a wide range of professions; and a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning.

Cardiff is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s leading research universities.

Visit the University website at:

About the University of Plymouth

Consistently ranked one of the top modern universities in the UK, Plymouth has a strong record of excellence, enterprise and innovation across its teaching and research activities and is distinguished by its long-term engagement with employers.

With around 30,000 students, including those studying at its partner FE colleges throughout the South West, the university is one of largest in the UK. With four government-funded Centres for Excellence in Teaching & Learning, the maximum awarded to any single institution, the university enjoys a high rate of graduate employment and has recently invested more than £110 million in state-of-the-art facilities to enhance the student experience.

Plymouth has a national and international research profile. In the Research Assessment Exercise 2001, 11 subject areas were graded ‘4’ or ‘5’ and for the RAE 2008 return the university has doubled the number of staff and increased the number of research outputs by 70%.

As the enterprise university, the University of Plymouth delivers outstanding economic, social and cultural return for business, the professions, the public sector and its wider community.

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