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With Andrea Leadsom, the UK’s Energy and Climate Minister and prominent Vote Leave campaigner, poised for promotion, how could leaving the EU affect UK energy and climate policy?
The question of who might make up the new government, and what the implications will be for the environment, is on many people’s minds.
This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup originally published at DailyKos
On Friday, we made a joking reference to how right-wing politics and climate denial operate within a single, metaphorical room. In light of the Brexit vote, it seems appropriate to remind everyone how climate denial in the UK is similarly closely tied to other politics, by operating out of literally the same building.
Last January, Kyla Mandel at DeSmog UK made the initial connection, showing how many climate deniers are campaigning for England to leave the EU, including many names common to this column, like Matt Ridley and James Delingpole. Then the building where these two policy circles intersect was mentioned last February, when the Independent revealed that the Global Warming Policy Foundation/Forum is one of many groups that call a single townhouse at 55 Tufton Street home.
The fossil fuel industry has spent many millions of dollars on confusing the public about climate change. But the role of vested interests in climate science denial is only half the picture.
Interest in this topic has spiked with the latest revelation regarding coalmining company Peabody Energy. After Peabody filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, documentation became available revealing the scope of Peabody’s funding to third parties. The list of funding recipients includes trade associations, lobby groups and climate-contrarian scientists.
This latest revelation is significant because in recent years, fossil fuel companies have become more careful to cover their tracks. An analysis by Robert Brulle found that from 2003 to 2010, organisations promoting climate misinformation received more than US$900 million of corporate funding per year.
Many are trying to answer the question of what the UK’s energy and climate change policy might look like if we leave the EU. So, what do those behind the Brexit campaign have to say on this subject?
As it turns out, there appear to be only two relatively clear strategies on energy and climate policy put forward by the groups campaigning to leave the EU.
One of these was published in August 2014 by Business for Britain. However, this document has since quietly disappeared from the group’s website.
Meanwhile, the scenario proposed by Fresh Start, a group of about 100 Eurosceptic MPs, was published in 2012.
European environment ministers made slow progress in Luxembourg on Monday in trying to speed up the EU’s ratification process of the Paris climate agreement and in reforming its emissions trading scheme.
At the Environment Council meeting, the 28 ministers agreed to ratify the Paris Agreement “as soon as possible” and acknowledged that the climate deal means that the EU emissions trading scheme (EU ETS) must be reviewed in the near future to ensure the level of ambition is in line with the agreed climate targets.
However, director of climate NGO network CAN Europe, Wendel Trio criticised the proposed reforms to the EU climate targets, calling them “weak” as they are not enough to ensure that warming is limited to below 2C above pre-industrial levels.
Suspicions and frustration are growing as the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) continues to delay the release of any information regarding the Committee on Climate Change’s (CCC) independent report on fracking and climate change.
Responding to a freedom of information request from shadow Labour climate minister Barry Gardiner on 16 June, DECC said they must extend the normal deadline 40 more days before releasing correspondence between DECC and the CCC about the report due to the “complexity and volume of the information requested”.
This follows previous requests by Gardiner last month for details on when the report will be released, to which DECC minister Andrea Leadsom replied on 25 May that the government is “considering the report and will lay it before Parliament with our response in due course.”
British banks have given more than £115 billion to support fossil fuel projects around the world over the last three years, according to new analysis of North American and European banks’ financing practices.
The report by the Rainforest Action Network, BankTrack, the Sierra Club and Oil Change International shows that in the UK, Barclays takes the lead with £47.8bn invested in coal, extreme oil (Arctic, tar sands, and ultra-deepwater), and liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports between 2013 and 2015.
It’s followed by HSBC (£36bn), the Royal Bank of Scotland (£25bn) and Santander (£6.9bn).
The Science Museum will be launching a new ‘Wonderlab’ gallery in October sponsored by Norwegian oil giant Statoil.
The interactive gallery is targeted towards children between the ages of seven and 14 and aims to “inspire visitors… to wonder at the science and mathematics that shape the world around us.”
Campaigners, however, question whether Statoil is an appropriate sponsor for such an exhibit – this isn’t the first time the Science Museum has had an exhibit sponsored by an oil company.