Controlling climate change is proving to be a bigger challenge than before, now that Britain no longer has its EU league to share the burden
The UK are set to press forward with the fight against climate change, despite the implications leaving the EU will have on achieving previous targets.
In 1990, the British government committed to reducing carbon dioxide levels by 20 per cent by 2025. However, minsters are now expected to set a new target.
Amber Rudd, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, last week addressed the Business and Climate Summit which took place in London, and announced that because of the recent referendum result, the UK will find it harder to meet its climate change targets.
Ms Rudd who herself campaigned extensively to keep the UK in the EU, addressing the summit, said: ‘The UK’s role in dealing with global warming and climate change may have been made harder by Brexit, but our commitment to dealing with this situation is of vital importance and has not gone away. We’re entirely committed to dealing with climate change’.
Towards the end of 2008 the EU Parliament accepted the UK’s climate and energy plan, a plan that involved: cutting climate gases from 1990 to 2020 by 20 per cent; increasing renewable energy by 20 per cent during the same period and increasing energy efficiency by 20 per cent. However, in light of the UK leaving the EU, new climate change targets need to be set, partly because the EU membership has a large influence on the UK’s energy sector.
The Climate Change Act of 2008 dictates that the UK government must set a target by the end of June 2016 — a climate change target for the next two decades. But MPs have urged ministers to have further negotiations before setting any stringent targets. Fifteen MPs sent a letter to Ms Rudd, advising her to delay setting any new targets — which may put an extra burden on the UK and make it easier for other EU members to reach their own targets.
The letter to Ms Rudd which included the signatures of MPs, such as former Secretary of State for the Environment Owen Paterson, Conservative MP John Redwood and Chris Heaton-Harris, said: ‘Our extra effort would result in no extra reduction in CO2 emissions across Europe as a whole — just a higher burden on British business and a lower burden on our competitors’.
The premise suggested by the MPs, was that the UK would be more ably adept at controlling climate change if it was still in the EU. Collectively setting climate change targets with other EU members would ease the burden. Now however, the burden lies squarely on the UK’s shoulders, and achieving targets set hastily because of the Climate Change Act’s regulations may not be feasible.
At the conference, spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: ‘Member states will start negotiating later this year on their emission targets for 2030 and this Government will fight very strongly for each country to contribute its fair share to what is a collective target’.
Former Climate Change Secretary and Labour Leader, Ed Miliband, spoke out on the matter and urged David Cameron to ratify the Paris climate accord before he leaves his post as Prime Minister.
The Climate Change Committee have also launched an attack on the government after it was revealed that the UK hadn’t met its funding targets for carbon capture and storage technology.
The Committee’s proposed climate change targets were: reduce emissions to a third below current levels for the period between 2028-2032. However as of yet, no plan has been set in place. Negotiations are expected to continue over the following weeks before any stringent targets are set. Ones which are fair and which don’t place a burden on British families and businesses.