The UK may take a more skeptical approach to addressing man-made climate change in future due to the victory of the “leave” forces in last week’s Brexit referendum to quit the European Union. Prominent leaders of the “leave” campaign — including Conservative MP and former London mayor Boris Johnson, now being touted as a potential prime minister — are viewed as climate skeptics, at least compared to their counterparts on the losing “remain” side, headed by British PM David Cameron. Other leaders of the “leave” campaign such as Conservative MP Michael Gove — another possible candidate for PM — Nigel Lawson of the Global Warming Policy Foundation and Conservative MP and former environment minister Owen Paterson, are climate skeptics. So is “leave” forces leader Nigel Farage, head of the U.K. Independence Party (UKIP), another big winner to emerge from the referendum campaign. –Lorrie Goldstein, Toronto Sun, 27 June 2016
As the green left has pointed out with horror, many of the leading Brexiteers are openly skeptical about the Climate Agenda. Indeed one of them, Boris Johnson, the former mayor of London, is in line to become the next British prime minister. Some have even cast the entire Brexit campaign as a plot by the London-based Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), a skeptical think tank founded by Lord Nigel Lawson, a former Chancellor of the Exchequer. Lawson was one of the most convincing campaigners for the Leave side. Another key Brexiteer was Conservative Justice Secretary Michael Gove, who had also campaigned against the bias of climate education on the basis of a critical, and entirely accurate, GWPF report. But claims of a GWPF plot are pure paranoia. –Peter Foster, Financial Post, 25 June 2016
Green groups are concerned the Brexit result will sap momentum from the global climate change response and have linked the successful Leave campaign to high-profile climate sceptics such as Margaret Thatcher’s former treasurer Nigel Lawson. Lead Brexit campaigner and potential future British prime minister Boris Johnson has also been portrayed as a climate sceptic after dismissing warmer-than-usual summer temperatures as being linked to climate change. Global Warming Policy Foundation director Benny Peiser said the decision by the British people to leave the EU would have significant and long-term implications for energy and climate policies. Carbon prices in the EU’s emissions trading market plunged 17 per cent in the wake of the Brexit referendum result. –Graham Lloyd, The Australian, 27 June 2016
The European Union’s plans to reform its broken carbon market have been thrown into turmoil after the British lead MEP on the bill to revise the Emissions Trading System resigned after the UK voted to leave the bloc. EurActiv exclusively reported that British conservatives are planning to call a general election in November to hand a mandate to a new ‘Brexit government’. The leading figures of the Leave campaign are likely to have significant roles but, as well as being Eurosceptic, some are also climate-sceptic. That has fuelled further uncertainty over the future of British climate action. –James Crisp, EurActive, 24 June 2016
A big outcome of the NSG failure is that India will now not ratify the Paris Agreement anytime soon. That agreement is a key element of US President Barack Obama’s legacy. The Indian statement says clearly, “An early positive decision by the NSG would have allowed us to move forward on the Paris Agreement.” This will be a big blow to the Obama administration which wanted India to ratify the pact so it could enter into force. It was understood that an NSG membership would help India clear the Paris Agreement. –Indrani Bagchi, Times of India, 26 June 2016
Overall, backing out of the various EU energy and climate commitments looks likely to be beneficial, and necessary. But UK withdrawal is probably not positive for those remaining in the EU, and this can only make negotiations difficult. The problem arises because the UK’s burden share in meeting the EU’s 2020 Renewable Energy target, is not only large (some 230 to 270 TWh of energy), but unbalanced. It is arguable that to some degree the UK has been shielding other member states from costs by shouldering this exceptional burden. It is obviously too soon to say that Brexit will significantly increase the net cost of the renewables targets for the remaining EU members, but there is clearly some doubt about the matter, and this will inevitably make negotiations controversial, and it can only add to the pressure on other member states to seek significant changes to the EU’s climate and green energy policies. –John Constable, Global Warming Policy Forum, 27 June 2016
Britain’s new foreign policy must revolve around global – rather than parochial European – considerations. An economically sclerotic Europe in absolute decline will be an increasing side-show over the next generation. Yes, London must begin the process (and that’s what it will be) of gaining as amicable a divorce as is possible from the shocked Brussels elite. However, starting right now, and while the Brexit process with Brussels winds wearily along, Britain must think bigger; it must think globally. Britain’s new Drakean vision must focus on forging a new global democratic alliance of rising regional powers, connecting itself more substantially to South Africa, Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, and India, among others. The single greatest strategic challenge for the next generation is determining whether the emerging regional democratic powers can be successfully integrated into today’s global order. –John Hulsman, City A.M. 27 June 2016
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