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Public Health Policy

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Public Health Policy

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Discuss about the “Public Health policy”. 
 
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Introduction
Climate change is a serious uprising problem today. It has various adverse effects on the health of human being and on the environment also. It is a major global issue. Climate change is observed because of rising temperatures, shifting rain patterns, rising sea level, increased storm intensity and melting glaciers. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emission is also a cause of climate change. Greenhouse gas emissions mainly cause due to different human activities mainly from agriculture, fossil fuel use and deforestation (Bellard et al., 2012). If necessary steps are not taken to reduce the greenhouse gas emission below the current levels in coming decades then further sea level rise and global warming will continue. Then this will continue the adverse impact on the natural ecosystem, human health and economy. The increase in the risk of climate change day by day suggests that immediate action is needed to be taken for reducing the greenhouse gas emission significantly in the coming decades.
Increasing number of significant evidence is there that the total benefit of early and strong action for reducing the greenhouse emission outweigh the cost (Baker, 2012). However, we need some policy to solve the issue at a lowest possible cost if in order to having a realistic chance for limiting the climate change in future. According to the analysis of OECD, a huge reduction in the greenhouse gas emission can be achieved in a low cost by applying right policies in right place. Adapting new policies and regulations may have a significant impact on the climate change range. There are many solutions, which have been raised like carbon cap-and-trade systems, greater energy efficiencies, renewable energy technologies (like wind energy, bio-fuels and solar power), carbon taxes and new fuel economy standards. The mitigation measures needed to be enacted, but until these are enacted, some practical adaptation needed to be considered (Davoudi et al., 2012). The adaptations include proper land use regulation, a innovative structure of insurance rates and zoning requirements.
Historical development of the policy issue
Fourier in the France (1827), Tyndale in the Britain (1859) and Arrhenius in the Sweden first identified that the increase in global temperature mainly observed because of increasing industrial activities because these activities releases carbon dioxide in the air. In late 1970s the WMO (World Meteorological Organization) started to express their concern that the activities of human mainly the carbon dioxide emission leading to the severe warming of the lower level of the atmosphere as in early 1970s they were more concerned about the atmosphere cooling and even they were also fearing of a new ice age. Concerns on the global warming specifically grew among the scientist during the 1980s and the issue became a political concern in 1988 because in this year North America conquered an intense heat wave and drought (Deser et al., 2012). As a consequence of the heat wave and draught in North America the UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) and WMO established the IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change) for investigating and reporting scientific climate change evidence and possible international climate change responses.
The IPCC established as a central to the processes and debates focusing on the development of different climate change policies of climate change. Its first assessment report was adopted by the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) in 1991 as a draft (Field, 2012). The draft was signed by countries at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in the year of 1992 and it was come into force in the year 1994. By 2009, the parties to the convention increased to one ninety-two. No national or international target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions was mentioned in the UNFCCC. It only contained the principles that are the foundation of international climate change processes and debates. The lack of specific target in it many of the environmentalists did not accept it.
In Kyoto, Japan (1997) a COP (Conference of Parties) meeting was held and it was the third COP (Hansen, Sato & Ruedy, 2012). The delegates were agreed with the meeting and signed a protocol known as Kyoto Protocol. The protocol established the emission targets of developed countries for 2008 to 2012. There were number of countries specially Australia and US refused to ratify the protocol because they argued that emissions needed to be reduced by developing countries also. Subsequent COP was held in Copenhagen (2009), Cancun (2010) and Durban (2011) and in these COPs; there was ongoing negotiations for establishing a legally binding treaty that is for post 2012. The climate change policy in UK has been influenced by this historical development of climate change policies in different nations (Jordan, 2012).  
UK has achieved a wider range of greenhouse gas emission while compared with other OECD countries in the period of 1990-2005. The initiatives of the policy development in UK have gained most success in non-carbon dioxide gases. However, reduction of emission of methane gas was influenced by improved landfill and waste management which has been influenced by the some UK policies including Landfill allowance trading scheme and 1996 landfill Tax (Jordan et al., 2012). Due to recession, a major decline in carbon dioxide emission has been seen in UK and OECD.
Considering the full range of gases covered by the Koyota protocol, it has been seen that UK had a higher emission rate in 1990, however, the rate lowered per unit of GDP even faster than the OECD average. Since 1990 to 2005, at a rate of 0.7% the carbon emission has been decreased per year. The reduction was influenced through the privatisation of the electricity industry which was initiated in early 1990s (Kates, Travis & Wilbanks, 2012).  
 
Factors influencing the course of policy development and implementation
Huge adverse consequence on the health and the environment is the main reason of development and implementation of the policy of climate change. Because of the adverse effect, building adaptive capacities and reducing vulnerabilities in response to increasing the variability of climate and climate change becomes the necessity. Independent countries are using maximum resources that are reliant to climate and this causes adverse effect on the environment and thereby to climate change. There are also some activities that are not organized in structure and leading to environmental damage. Therefore, institutions and policies have relevant role at the local, state, central, and global levels (Leary, 2012). A proper framework of action is needed to be devised for strengthening adaptation implementation. It also helps for encompassing combination of activities across different levels those are asking for a multi-level governance framework that covers across local to global level. Identification of different stakeholders holding relevance in strengthening adaptation is needed. Identification of key policy windows based on crosscutting themes and sectors are very important.
Green house gas emission cut is on the top priority to the climate change policies undertaken by the nations. Therefore, national, international and political factors are affecting the development of the policy initiatives and policy reforms. The executive secretary of the UNFCCC has argued that over past few years’ government led to significant efforts under UNFCCC when the technical expert meetings were done for identifying the policy actions leading to effective climate action (Levin et al., 2012).
It is argued that the political factor is a major aspect which is interfering with the sustainability of the policy initiatives in UK. The accountability of political leaders to the public worried about the climate change is providing the main political foundation through the parliament, to the act is criticised. However, it has been claimed that the UK 2008 climate change act contributed in major institutional transformation, in spite of the fact that the new institutions has displaced the power of old ones at a limited degree (Lockwood, 2013).
Strength and weaknesses of policy positioning
Strengths of the policy position are related to the benefits of the policy position. Therefore, the understanding of benefits of the policy initiatives is important. There is a great economic benefit from reducing green house gas. It helps to reduce risk of human health and well being and negative impact of climate change upon human health reduces. EPA and other federal government agencies have established social cost of carbon estimates for assessing the economic benefits of rules which contributes in decreasing carbon dioxide emissions. EPA is doing the cost and benefit analysis of the policy initiatives before implementation through the partnership with other agencies (Markandya & Halsnaes, 2012). EPA is contributing to the world class climate research through Intergovernmental panel on climate change and U.S. Global change research program.
Weakness of the policy positions include the barriers which the policy initiatives are yet to overcome. These include, carbon pricing. Adequate price putting on carbon will influence the investment and using low-carbon fuels and technologies. Thus, it has been reported that 40 national and 20 sub national jurisdictions are attempting to implement price on carbon and the reports claimed that inefficient subsidies close to $550 billion was spent to direct fossil fuel subsidies in 2013 which can be turned works against the investment in clean energy and low carbon fuels (Murray & King, 2012). Another barrier to the developing countries is the need for increased support of accessing finance up-front cost and accessing technologies. The cost is a major barrier, as the UNFCCC report showed that at an average the additional investment of $ 1 trillion is required for implementing climate change action that is equipped with appropriate resources (Pidgeon, 2012). It has been reported that the prospective for non-state actors for playing a significant collaborative role with government is showcased through Non-state actor zone for climate action (NAZCA) portal.
There are political barriers also which are affecting the policy development and its entire success. China and its contribution in climate change and green house gas emission is a major issue in this context. UK has undertaken the climate change act in 2008 and there are some political factors which are affecting the sustainability of the policy and legislation (Pindyck, 2012).
In the case of international partnership in climate change and green house gas emission cut, some countries like China has adopted reducing of green house gas emission policy, but is not contributing at the expected level. Due to more industrialization China should take more responsibility upon reduction of green house gas emission, however, that much of co operativity has not seen which is one of the key international factors affecting the development of climate change policy and its impact upon people (Pindyck, 2013).  A major part of the green house gas emission is contributed by the oil industries but the nations are not taking required responsibility. Therefore, these barriers should be reduced to achieve the success of this policy initiative. 
 
Policy analysis
EPA is engaged in different international activities with advanced climate change through the partnership, leadership and sharing technical expertise to support the activities of the international actors. The economic benefit has been recognized as the major factor influencing the policy development and initiatives. The economic downturn promoted the policy makers and to concentrate more upon the emission decline. It has been reported that the fall of annual rate of United Kingdom green house gas emission has driven the faster annual average of green house gas emission which promoted a fall in energy output intensity (Scruggs & Benegal, 2012).  However, once the downturn of economy has been granted, it affected several energy-intensive sectors and polices widely for reducing the carbon emission, thereby contributing less to the reduction of emission than the ‘dash for gas’ did. Therefore, the stronger measures are needed for accelerating the transition from electricity generation from fossil fuel towards the supply of cleaner energy for sustaining the lowering trend of emission. However, during the period of 1990 to 2008, UK has not reduced emission in residential and transport sectors significantly; those were responsible for 48% of total emission (Seinfeld & Pandis, 2012). 
It has been reported that along with the EU-15 as a whole, United Kingdom has significantly performing to meet its Kyoto target through domestic emission reduction. Under the burden sharing agreements of EU, United Kingdom accepted the reduction of 12.5% at national rate (Selin & VanDeveer, 2011). However, analyzing the levels f emission in 2009, UK government set the target at 20% of carbon emission reduction. In the policy initiative, recently UK government has implemented the carbon budget settings which is binding the emission limits legally through five years. The first four carbon budget periods included from 2008 to 2027, where the level of average emission in fourth budget is expected to be 50% lower than the level in 1990.
The overall framework of the policy encompasses different instruments and objectives and it has a complex structure. The international climate change policies have a major contribution in the UK climate change policy developments and initiatives. UK has a major contribution in international action of climate change with cross-party commitment towards a strong domestic policy framework. UK strongly supported the global climate change agreement at UNFCCC conference of parties in 2009 held in Copenhagen (COP15) and in 2010 which was held at Cancun (COP16). UK policy is continuously pushing the target towards 30% emission (Shindell et al., 2012).  The total contribution of UK in international climate change finance is £2.9 billion.
Carbon pricing is a complex instrument of climate change policy consisting several overlapping instruments. The main pricing instrument of UK is EU trading scheme covering 48% CO2 emissions of UK in 2009 (Szulczewski et al., 2012). On the other hand, the EU system consists of a cap and trade scheme setting quantitative limitations by firms for emission in its scope of practise. Carbon tax directly sets the carbon price but in UK through trading emission quota, the carbon price is set. The quantitative limitation provides high confidence of reduction of emission in economic shock, thereby assuring the achievement of long-run emission reduction.
Promotion of clean energy is another important policy instrument which is associated with the use of renewable energy, ‘carbon capture and storage’ and nuclear power usage for low emission energy sources achievement. EU set 20% of final energy demand by 2020 from renewable energies as the target which has been agreed by other countries; however, UK has targeted 15% of final energy demand from renewable sources (Tompkins & Eakin, 2012).
Realistic policy improvements
The UK climate change policy should think about considering mitigation along with adaptation significantly. The policy can be improved in many areas through adaptation. According to the environmental audit committee review has been suggested that new government needs to review the regime and failure of delivering necessary step-change in adaptation and action should be reviewed properly. Different factors that have been hindered the adaptation of the policy including insufficient climate risk information, low incorporation of adaptation through government policy, undeveloped risk assessment and poorly developed matrices are the limitations which are the focused areas of policy improvement. Though the UK has made the significant progress in overwhelming these barriers, the risk assessment incorporation can give high quality information related to risk information (Walker et al., 2011). The guidance provided by the introduction of the Climate Resilience toolkit would shape the policy reform more efficiently. The UK government can develop a process through which the level of risk would be defined and analysis will be done for deciding whether these are acceptable or not. Along with this, it can also be recommended that the UK government should concentrate more on the efforts related to the adaptation of present day climate variability and where the long lasting consequences would be considered (Szulczewski et al., 2012). It should also be considered that, the policy improvement should focus upon mitigation prior to the large scale investment on adaptation. There is also a need for maintaining flexibility as the risk evolves, so the improvement is needed in this part also. 
 
Conclusion
In conclusion, it can be said that the UK government is attempting to sustain the climate change policy through numerous activities. The report mainly focused upon the factors which are influencing or hindering the growth of the climate change policy in the national, international and state level. The report analyzed the policy development and the initiatives taken by the UK government to reduce the green house gas emission. A brief history of the development of climate change policy has been discussed on the global perspectives. The government should seek steadier and less volatile carbon price via tighter quota at international level in the EU emission trading system. The policy would have more success when the government would adopt 30% EU emission reduction target within 2020. As the green house emission and the related health impact upon human is a major environmental issue related to the climate change, more suitable adaptation by the nation is necessary. The report highlighted the policy instruments which are contributing into the policy development and all political, environment, national and international factors which are important to the climate change policy.
Although the report highlighted the policy analysis of the UK climate change policy and related facts, a brief history of the national and international climate change policy adaptation by the other nations has also been described here. After analysing all the factors contributing to the success of the policy development, the strength, benefits and the barriers or weaknesses of the policy has been analysed and assessed. In this context, the necessary adaptation for the policy has also been described in the report. It can be interpreted that the Government should simultaneously establish adaptive capacity throughout the UK economy and for decreasing the market failures in UK, government should include risk assessment framework, provision of public goods, information provision to public and should adopt suitable and advanced monitoring and evaluation matrics. However, the immediate action should focus upon the better understood facts which are the near climate threats. 
 
Reference List
Baker, S. (Ed.). (2012). Politics of Sustainable Development. Routledge.
Bellard, C., Bertelsmeier, C., Leadley, P., Thuiller, W., & Courchamp, F. (2012). Impacts of climate change on the future of biodiversity. Ecology letters, 15(4), 365-377.
Carvalho, A., & Burgess, J. (2005). Cultural circuits of climate change in UK broadsheet newspapers, 1985–2003. Risk analysis, 25(6), 1457-1469.
Davoudi, S., Shaw, K., Haider, L. J., Quinlan, A. E., Peterson, G. D., Wilkinson, C., … & Davoudi, S. (2012). Resilience: A Bridging Concept or a Dead End?”Reframing”
Resilience: Challenges for Planning Theory and Practice Interacting Traps: Resilience Assessment of a Pasture Management System in Northern Afghanistan Urban
Resilience: What Does it Mean in Planning Practice? Resilience as a Useful Concept for Climate Change Adaptation? The Politics of Resilience for Planning: A
Cautionary Note: Edited by Simin Davoudi and Libby Porter. Planning Theory & Practice, 13(2), 299-333.
Deser, C., Phillips, A., Bourdette, V., & Teng, H. (2012). Uncertainty in climate change projections: the role of internal variability. Climate Dynamics,38(3-4), 527-546.
Field, C. B. (Ed.). (2012). Managing the risks of extreme events and disasters to advance climate change adaptation: special report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Cambridge University Press.
Hansen, J., Sato, M., & Ruedy, R. (2012). Perception of climate change.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109(37), E2415-E2423.
Jordan, A. (2012). Environmental Policy in the European Union: Actors, Institutions, and Processes. Earthscan.
Jordan, A., van Asselt, H., Berkhout, F., Huitema, D., & Rayner, T. (2012). Understanding the paradoxes of multilevel governing: Climate change policy in the European Union. Global Environmental Politics, 12(2), 43-66.
Kates, R. W., Travis, W. R., & Wilbanks, T. J. (2012). Transformational adaptation when incremental adaptations to climate change are insufficient.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109(19), 7156-7161.
Leary, N. (2012). Climate change and adaptation. Earthscan.
Levin, K., Cashore, B., Bernstein, S., & Auld, G. (2012). Overcoming the tragedy of super wicked problems: constraining our future selves to ameliorate global climate change. Policy Sciences, 45(2), 123-152.
Lockwood, M. (2013). The political sustainability of climate policy: The case of the UK Climate Change Act. Global Environmental Change, 23(5), 1339-1348.
Markandya, A., & Halsnaes, K. (2012). Climate change and sustainable development: prospects for developing countries. Earthscan.
Murray, J., & King, D. (2012). Climate policy: Oil’s tipping point has passed.Nature, 481(7382), 433-435.
Pidgeon, N. (2012). Public understanding of, and attitudes to, climate change: UK and international perspectives and policy. Climate Policy,12(sup01), S85-S106.
Pindyck, R. S. (2012). Uncertain outcomes and climate change policy.Journal of Environmental Economics and management, 63(3), 289-303.
Pindyck, R. S. (2013). Climate change policy: What do the models tell us?(No. w19244). National Bureau of Economic Research.
Scruggs, L., & Benegal, S. (2012). Declining public concern about climate change: Can we blame the great recession?. Global Environmental Change,22(2), 505-515.
Seinfeld, J. H., & Pandis, S. N. (2012). Atmospheric chemistry and physics: from air pollution to climate change. John Wiley & Sons.
Selin, H., & VanDeveer, S. D. (2011). Political science and prediction: What’s next for US climate change policy?. Review of Policy Research,24(1), 1-27.
Shindell, D., Kuylenstierna, J. C., Vignati, E., van Dingenen, R., Amann, M., Klimont, Z., … & Schwartz, J. (2012). Simultaneously mitigating near-term climate change and improving human health and food security. Science,335(6065), 183-189.
Szulczewski, M. L., MacMinn, C. W., Herzog, H. J., & Juanes, R. (2012). Lifetime of carbon capture and storage as a climate-change mitigation technology. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109(14), 5185-5189.
Tompkins, E. L., & Eakin, H. (2012). Managing private and public adaptation to climate change. Global environmental change, 22(1), 3-11.
Walker, G., Hunter, S., Devine-Wright, P., Evans, B., & Fay, H. (2011). Harnessing community energies: explaining and evaluating community-based localism in renewable energy policy in the UK. Global Environmental Politics, 7(2), 64-82.

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