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Legal regulation of aircraft engine emissions in the age of climate change

Liu, J.; (2011) Legal regulation of aircraft engine emissions in the age of climate change. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Although the contribution of international civil aviation to climate change seems small (with a global share of just 3.5 percent of emissions of CO2), the projected growth in air traffic means that it is highly significant. There is thus an urgent need to explore legal regulations for limiting and/or reducing the adverse impacts of aircraft emissions on the environment. This thesis examines the progress which has been made on international aviation emissions abatement and provides an analysis of the reasons for delay. It concludes that the contribution of aviation to climate change is a multi-scalar problem and as such neither conventional top-down international legal regimes, nor any single regulatory instrument can solve it. The research question for this thesis is how to break the deadlock of conventional legal approaches and overcome the barriers to international aviation greenhouse gas emissions abatement. New governance theory provides the theory within which the future of aviation emissions regulation has been explored. Drawing on the scholarly literature on new governance, this thesis argues for a multi-scalar regulatory architecture which simultaneously engages multi-level governance, and a multi-party and multi-instrument approach to the problem. First, multi-level governance includes an international sectoral target on reducing aviation emissions, national efforts in allocating and implementing reduction targets on aircraft operators, and regional cooperation in between, as well as sub-state level governance although this is not a feature of this thesis. Second, a multi-party approach requires efforts from both public and private actors (international organisations such as the UNFCCC and ICAO, nation states, the airline industry and IATA). Finally, a combined use of multiple regulatory instruments (conventional command and control type mechanisms and multiple market-based instruments) should be included. The failure of the UNFCCC to regulate international aviation emissions means that the problem has remained largely unaddressed. Recognizing climate change as a multi-scalar problem that needs multi-scalar regulatory approaches would allow the international aviation emission problem to move beyond the deadlock of conventional inter-state approaches.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Legal regulation of aircraft engine emissions in the age of climate change
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Laws
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1318090
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