Cameron's hot air. Pollution, fraud and the politics of carbon emissions

Walters, Reece & Martin, Peter (2012) Cameron's hot air. Pollution, fraud and the politics of carbon emissions. Criminal Justice Matters, 90(1), pp. 6-7.

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Abstract

It is widely recognised that exposure to air pollutants affect pulmonary and lung dysfunction as well as a range of neurological and vascular disorders. The rapid increase of worldwide carbon emissions continues to compromise environmental sustainability whilst contributing to premature death. Moreover, the harms caused by air pollution have a more pernicious reach, such as being the major source of climate change and ‘natural disasters’, which reportedly kills millions of people each year (World Health Organization, 2012).

The opening quotations tell a story of the UK government's complacency towards the devastation of toxic and contaminating air emissions. The above headlines greeted the British public earlier this year after its government was taken to the Court of Appeal for an appalling air pollution record that continues to cause the premature deaths of 30,000 British people each year at a health cost estimated at £20 billion per annum. This combined with pending legal proceedings against the UK government for air pollution violations by the European Commission, point to a Cameron government that prioritises hot air and profit margins over human lives.

The UK's legal air pollution regimes are an industry dominated process that relies on negotiation and partnership between regulators and polluters. The entire model seeks to assist business compliance rather than punish corporate offenders. There is no language of ‘crime’ in relation to UK air pollution violations but rather a discourse of ‘exceedence’ (Walters, 2010). It is a regulatory system not premised on the ‘polluter pay’ principle but instead the ‘polluter profit’ principle.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 55619
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: carbon fraud, emissions policies, emissions trading, air pollution
DOI: 10.1080/09627251.2012.751213
ISSN: 1934-6220
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100) > Criminal Law and Procedure (180110)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100) > Environmental and Natural Resources Law (180111)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Schools > School of Justice
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 Routledge
Deposited On: 14 Dec 2012 01:21
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2013 15:22

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