The United Nations climate chief Christiana Figueres said this week the Brexit vote was not a “rock in the road” on the world’s path to a low-carbon economy. She says that reports of Britain’s Exit (Brexit) disrupting global action on climate change were overblown, but did concede that they would have to change certain targets between the UK and the EU, especially when Article 50 is eventually triggered. British voters voted 52 to 48 percent to withdraw the United Kingdom (UK) from the EU (European Union).
The Treaty of Lisbon, which was signed in December 2007, is the EU’s most recent constitution. Article 50 allows countries to leave the EU, and it sets out an “exit process that is intentionally vague and forces member states into long negotiations to thrash out the terms of any deal.”
Once Article 50 is invoked, a two-year window begins for a member state to leave the EU and to detail how it plans to interact with the rest of the EU. There have been other less-publicized withdrawals from the EU, such as Greenland in 1985 and Algeria in 1962.
All EU member states have to unanimously agree to the plans outlined by the member state leaving, which could take years. Meanwhile, Britain is still bound by the obligations and responsibilities of EU membership. Prime Minister David Cameron says he will not invoke article 50 as it starts the clock ticking and he wants his replacement in place before the Brexit negotiations begin. Cameron resigned after the votes were tallied. Figueres is counting on that confusion to prolong the UK’s ongoing plans to fight climate change.
“Climate change action is by now unstoppable and it is global, it is operating at a higher level and with the understanding of longer periods. Of course there will have to be a readjustment, a recalibration between the UK and the EU,” especially when Article 50 is triggered. “But I don’t see this is going to dramatically change certainly what is happening in the world, or even what is happening in the region,” she added.
Dr. Benny Peiser, director of the think-tank the Global Warming Policy Forum, said: “It is highly unlikely that the party-political green consensus that has existed in Parliament for the last ten years will survive the seismic changes that are now unfolding after Britain’s Independence Day.” According to a survey of over 12,000 Brits who voted last Thursday, fully 69 percent who voted to leave the EU saw the “green movement” as a “force for ill.”
Due to rules passed to meet the climate change action goals laid out by the United Nations, Britons have been living under inordinately high energy prices for years. Figueres wants to continue the business-as-usual approach with the heavy-handed tactics employed by the UN.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama and leaders from Canada and Mexico are meeting tomorrow at the Three Amigos Summit to determine how the Brexit vote will affect their clean energy goals and the “50 percent clean-energy power plan by 2025.” The costs for such a plan would send electricity prices skyrocketing due to the high costs of clean energy like solar and wind. Nuclear power is also considered a clean energy, but no new reactors are currently in the pipeline.