There is a deep-rooted connection between UK climate science deniers and those campaigning for Britain to leave the European Union.
On 23 June 2016 the UK will vote in the EU referendum on whether Britain should remain part of the European Union. The 'Brexit' vote comes after Prime Minister David Cameron promised in his 2015 Conservative Party election manifesto to hold a referendum on the UK’s membership in the EU before the end of 2017.
Since then, the link between climate science deniers and Eurosceptics has become more pronounced. In February 2016, it was revealed that Lord Lawson's climate denying Global Warming Policy Foundation had moved its headquarters into the same building as Brexit campaign groups 'Business for Britain' and 'Vote Leave', along with a slew of other right wing organisations including the TaxPayers' Alliance.
The Brexit-climate denier overlap stems from a common neoliberal ideology that fears top-down state interventions and regulations which are perceived as threatening values of individual freedom, economic (market) freedom, or the sovereignty of national governments. Under this logic, we must reject both the European Union and most climate policy.
And the influence of this small group extends beyond the walls of their 55 Tufton Street address - just a stone's throw from the Houses of Parliament - to include prominent politicians and traditional British media outlets. It begs the question: If the climate-euro sceptic bubble is successful on Brexit, what will then happen to British climate change policy?
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Across the world, secretive courts are lowering environmental standards and awarding polluting companies billions of dollars of compensation taken out of the taxpayer’s pocket. Matt Grady from fairtrade campaigners Traidcraft explains how Brexit could be an opportunity to break the cycle.
Britain’s International Trade Secretary Liam Fox met with two neoconservative think tanks during his first trip to the United States after this summer’s general election, DeSmog UK can reveal.
According to documents obtained by DeSmog UK via the Freedom of Information Act, Fox held a breakfast meeting with think tanks and business associations in Washington D.C. during his trip on 19-20 June.
In attendance was the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the Heritage Foundation – both influential think tanks backed by corporations and conservative foundations. Both are avid opponents of environmental regulations and have repeatedly denied the science on climate change. Heritage was also at the heart of Donald Trump's transition team in the weeks before he became president.
The Red Tape Initiative, dubbed the “other Brexit department” by Politico, has so far only met with one government department since it launched in April, DeSmog UK has learnt – the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
According to the Red Tape Initiative’s (RTI) director-general Nick Tyrone, the group met once with BEIS officials “a few months ago”.
Tyrone told DeSmog UK that it was a general meeting to simply “put us on their radar”, adding that “we have only met with BEIS to date in terms of government departments”.
A trustee of the UK climate science denial think tank the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) has just been reappointed to a parliamentary science committee.
Labour MP Graham Stringer was appointed unopposed this week to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee. The all-male group is tasked with making sure government decisions are based on sound scientific evidence.
Stringer has been on the committee before, between 2015 and May 2017. During this same time he joined the GWPF’s Board of Trustees in July 2015. The GWPF continues to dismiss the overwhelming evidence on climate change as it lobbies against taking action to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Most recently it admitted to using fake data during Lord Lawson’s widely-criticised BBC interview.
Megan Darby reports for Climate Home on how a UK proposal for its future relationship with the EU calls for cooperation on energy security, but makes no mention of the Paris Agreement — a stated priority in Brussels.
The UK government made no mention of climate change in a paper published Tuesday on its proposed foreign policy relationship with the EU after Brexit.
The document calls for continued cooperation on defence and security issues, including energy security, as Britain prepares to leave the EU, emphasising shared values and interests. But fails to mention climate change, which the EU ranks among its foreign policy priorities.
Power grab. Backroom Deals. Henry VIII. Reckless. All of these words have been used to describe the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill – better known as the Repeal Bill.
The Repeal Bill was officially released on 13 July. This is the plan for how the UK will bring over all the EU laws it is currently operating under. And there’s one big question everyone is asking: how transparent will Brexit be?
From Labour to the SNP, most opposing parties have denounced the bill. And green groups in particular are concerned about the lack of scrutiny and accountability that will take place as the government tries to turn some 1,100 pieces of EU environmental legislation into British law in a very short time span.
Whatever deal Brexit secretary David Davis manages to strike with the EU, it could have a negative significant impact on climate policy both on the continent and in the UK, a new report has warned.
Dublin-based think tank the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA) looked at four different Brexit scenarios, and found that the UK’s withdrawal from the EU would likely harm the region’s overall ambition to climate change.
In one scenario — an ultra-hard Brexit, where the UK uses its withdrawal as an excuse to roll back EU regulations to protect the environment — the country’s climate policy could be “radically altered” with the landmark Paris Agreement “threatened”, the report said.
On June 23 2016, 46 million voters merrily skipped to the polls to have their say about whether the UK should remain in the European Union. Early the following morning, it was revealed that 52 percent of the population had voted Leave.
Most were shocked, a small majority were joyous, the rest were dismayed — including many who were concerned Brexit would mean the UK’s climate policy and environmental regulation coming under attack.
One year on, the negotiations have formally started and things have progressed… a bit.
“My government will continue to support international action against climate change, including the implementation of the Paris agreement.”
So said the Queen during her speech today introducing the start of the parliamentary year and the list of bills the government hopes to pass over the next 12 months.
Along with a brief note on affordable energy and electric cars, this was the only mention of anything related to climate change or the environment in the brief speech.
Despite dangerous air pollution levels across the UK and crucial environmental laws that need to be translated into British legislation as we leave the EU, the environment was notably missing as a policy priority.
How do you squeeze environmental issues into an election campaign dominated by Brexit? Perhaps by making Brexit about environmental issues.
That’s what Labour’s shadow trade minister Barry Gardiner did Tuesday night, accusing the Conservatives of using Brexit as a “vehicle for deregulation”, and putting the UK’s environment at risk as a consequence.
Gardiner was speaking at the Greener UK hustings, organised by a wide-ranging coalition of environmental NGOs held at London’s Royal Society on 30 May. His comments were directed at the Conservatives’ representative on the panel, environment minister Thérèse Coffey.