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Developing a system of ecological governance: a legal framework for determining offshore wind energy’s role in the formation and implementation of an ecologically coherent energy policy

Woolley, O.A.; (2012) Developing a system of ecological governance: a legal framework for determining offshore wind energy’s role in the formation and implementation of an ecologically coherent energy policy. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

My thesis presents comprehensive proposals for a system of ecological governance. The objective of governance would be to alleviate the threats to ecosystem health that anthropogenic interference gives rise to. I argue that it is necessary to reduce ecological stresses generated by human activities in view of the profound uncertainty over how these combine to undermine the functionality of ecosystems. I also argue that, from an ethical perspective, the healthy functioning of ecosystems should be regarded as being of supervening value for human well-being, and, accordingly, that it should be prioritised in decision making over economic and social goals. I propose legal and institutional structures that are designed both to reflect the supervening valuation of ecosystem health and to secure progressive reductions in ecological impacts. I consider how visions of an ecological transition might be formed through instituting a proactive policy-making process. I then go on to explore how these visions might be given practical effect. I argue that the state must take the lead in advancing ecological objectives and consider the capacities that it would need to possess and the relationships that it should have with other actors in governance. I propose a framework for ecological planning that would give legal structure to these relationships and lay down the goals and principles to be observed by participants in decision-making. In addition, I consider the potential for deliberative participatory institutions to promote the change in peoples’ values that would be necessary if an ecological transition is to enjoy public support. I conclude by examining the importance of an improved understanding of ecosystem behaviour for enhanced ecological protection, and consider the role of law in driving the production of the requisite information.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Developing a system of ecological governance: a legal framework for determining offshore wind energy’s role in the formation and implementation of an ecologically coherent energy policy
Language:English
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Laws

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