The UK should prioritise climate change and its 2030 commitments during the exit negotiations with the EU.
That’s according to Charlotte Burns, Senior Lecturer in Environmental Politics and Policy at University of York who told ELN: “The immediate priorities the UK needs to think about are the habitats and the birds directives, bathing water, the common agriculture policy and the common fisheries policy because whichever kind of exit option we go for those will no longer apply.
“The other immediate concern would be the effort sharing decision on climate change and how we meet our 2030 climate commitments and then any trade related environmental measures where we might want to access to the single market and will therefore have to implement environmental legislation to do so.”
Some of the impacts Brexit will have are investment in renewable projects and the sharing of expertise with European partners, according to Ms Burns.
She also believes there could be a number of possible effects on the EU: “On the one hand the UK has been a very positive force in the field of climate change so the UK no longer being there may mean that more climate skeptic states will be able to shake the agenda at the European level.
“On the other hand the UK has tended to block things like carbon taxes and the use of market based instruments so there’s maybe scope to push the agenda on those issues.”
She believes the abolishment of DECC last week shouldn’t impact negotiations with the EU.
Ms Burns added: “It very much depends on what the removal of climate change from the title means for the way that DECC operates. If it’s a purely cosmetic change then no, if you’ve got officials in the Department for Business and Energy [Business Energy and Industry Stragety] who are still working on the issues of climate change and taking it seriously then it’s not necessarily a negative. If on the other hand that signals a lack of interest in climate change then that may have implications for our relationship with the EU.”
The new energy department insists tackling climate change “remains a key priority” for the UK Government.