Lord Mandelson: Brexit a massive setback for decarbonisation

A UK vote to leave the European Union would be a “massive setback” for the decarbonisation agenda. That’s the view of Lord Mandelson, who believes Britain has helped shape the […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha
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A UK vote to leave the European Union would be a “massive setback” for the decarbonisation agenda.

That’s the view of Lord Mandelson, who believes Britain has helped shape the agenda for cutting greenhouse gas emissions in the region.

He told ELN: “Most importantly it would detach Britain from the European Union’s huge efforts to drive decarbonisation, not just in Europe but in the world. The European Union is a major global leader and they are a global leader not least because of the way in which Britain has shaped that agenda and been a very important driving force in Europe.

“If Britain votes to leave the European Union, that influence will be destroyed. We will no longer be at the decision-making taking in Europe. Europe itself will be weaker and less effective in this whole area of policy globally and in my view a vote to leave the European Union would be a massive setback for the decarbonisation agenda which we have done so much to influence and drive in the past.”

Speaking at an event in London today, Lord Mandelson said Siemens decided to invest in the turbine manufacturing facility in Hull because the UK is part of the EU and the Single Market and a Brexit would “completely change the investment case”.

He suggests the government must set the fifth carbon budget, give investors the certainty they need and set a long term vision for the low carbon transition.

Lord Mandelson added: “The point for Britain is not just having the right policy objectives in the decarbonisation agenda and its attempts to create a low carbon economy and society. The trick also is to convert that into industrial opportunity and industrial gain for Britain so we benefit basically on both sides of the coin. We are decarbonising but we’re also creating a huge economic and industrial opportunity in doing so.”

He believes the government isn’t taking long term decisions to give investors the certainty they need: “People need a clear policy framework that’s stable, that will give them commercial predictability so they know when they’re investing now there’ll still be a growing market, there’ll still be policy support and the same policy imperatives in place in five, 10, 15 years’ time and more.”

Earlier this year Energy Secretary Amber Rudd said a Brexit could result in energy bills rocketing by £500 million a year by the 2020s while former London Mayor Boris Johnson said the UK will be able to scrap VAT on household energy bills if the country leaves the EU.