Mat Hope's blog

UK Climate Diplomacy Staff Cut Again as Post-Brexit Links to Trump and US Deniers Strengthen

With Donald Trump set to become the President of the United States, the international climate change political scenery has shifted.

The president-elect’s stance on “quitting” the Paris Agreement seems to have softened in recent days. But countries are still going to need strong diplomatic teams to shore-up the global commitment to tackling climate change, reiterated at the Marrakech climate talks last week.

So it’s notable that the UK’s climate diplomacy team appears to weakening.

For the second year in a row, the foreign office reduced the number of people working on climate change and energy, documents released by the government this week under a freedom of information request show.

Trump's 'Dirty Secrets' Aired in Channel 4 Documentary on Climate Science Denier Network

Donald Trump. Credit: Jamelle Bouie | Flickr

President-elect Trump’s new cabinet is full of people in the pocket of fossil fuel interests, who are set to bring their climate denial agenda to the White House. That was the core message of a Channel 4 documentary last night.

The Dispatches team travelled to the United States to investigate the controversial figures surrounding Trump in the lead up to his inauguration later this week.

And with the entire world watching Washington, these characters and controversies are no longer contained to the United States. Their actions will have international impact, and given Britain’s special relationship with America, it’s time to start taking a closer look at what’s going on Stateside.

European Lawmakers Vote to Pursue Tar Sands Oil Friendly Trade Deal with Canada

Alberta tar sands

EU lawmakers today voted for the European Parliament to push ahead with a trade deal that could encourage Canadian tar sand oil imports and make it easier for energy companies to sue governments when environmental policies threaten their profits.

The UK’s international trade minister, Liam Fox, last year circumvented parliament to approve the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada. The deal now has to be approved by European policymakers.

MEPs in the committee charged with overseeing environmental regulation today voted 40 to 24 for the European Parliament to back the deal, Reuters reports. A final decision is expected in February.

Minister: Brexit and Trump Add 'Complexity' to Climate Plans But Won't Weaken UK's Commitment

UK climate minister Nick Hurd speaking to the BEIS select committee

The UK’s decision to leave the EU and the spectre of Donald Trump’s presidency will not stop the government delivering its emissions reduction plans, climate minister Nick Hurd today told MPs.

Speaking to the House of Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy select committee, he said the current political climate meant ministers would have to make many difficult policy decisions. But he maintained that the UK’s climate goals, entrenched in the Climate Change Act, remained unchanged.

Brexit is a complication in the sense that we’ve got issues to think through”, he said. These include whether the UK continues to negotiate as part of a European bloc in future negotiations, whether it continues with the EU’s struggling emissions trading scheme, and how the UK participates in a unified European energy market.

Government Increases Petrol Subsidies Despite Phase-Out Pledge

Petrol pumps

The government has pledged to phase out fossil fuel subsidies and make clean transport a pillar of its climate action agenda. But new research shows that the UK has actually increased subsidies for petrol since 2003.

The transport sector is responsible for around 23 percent of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions. Experts from the UK’s independent Committee on Climate Change say that In order to meet the UK's 2050 climate change targets, 60 percent of new cars and vans need to be electric by 2030.

To make electric cars a viable proposition, the government needs to find ways to support the technology while cutting any additional help to fossil fuel powered cars, defying lobbying from big oil companies such as ExxonMobil.

Greener Car Sales Grew at 10 Times the Rate of Petrol Vehicles in 2016

A row of electric vehicles charging

Consumers are increasingly turning away from polluting diesel and petrol cars, favouring potentially greener options, new industry data shows.

While customers seem ready to switch to cleaner cars, the government will need to reverse a recent trend and continue implement low carbon energy policies if the UK is to have a truly green transport system.


Subscribe to RSS - Mat Hope's blog