The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Historic UK Vote Casts Uncertainty on Future of Climate Policy
The UK voted 52 percent to 48 percent to leave the European Union in a historic referendum last night. Prime Minister David Cameron is resigning in the wake of the vote and markets reacted immediately, as the pound fell to its lowest level against the dollar in 30 years.
Many climate and energy experts, including Christiana Figures, had been outspoken about the potential danger for EU and UK climate policy if the UK were to leave.
Without the UK involved, it is unlikely that the EU would revise up its current 40 percent emissions reduction target, experts say. The "leave" vote and change in government also raises uncertainty about domestic policies. Craig Bennett, head of Friends of the Earth, said the leave vote was a “red alert” for the environment.
Greens/European Free Alliance co-president Philippe Lamberts said in response to the UK vote:
“There can be no doubt that this vote will have a dramatic impact across Europe and the globe. The UK vote is an extreme disappointment but it cannot be the beginning of a domino effect within the EU. The response of European governments must now be to work together to deliver a decisive response, which can shore up confidence in the EU.
“While there were clearly various motivations behind those who voted to leave the EU, there can be no doubt that some of the disillusionment with the European project is shared by many citizens beyond the UK. From the outset, the European project aimed at ensuring lasting peace through the extension of freedom, democracy and shared prosperity. Reconnecting with that ambition is what is needed to address the many legitimate reasons behind this public dissatisfaction and ensure the EU can win back the support of citizens.
“We remain committed to this project and believe we need to highlight the major positive benefits the EU has delivered and the potential it has to allow us to respond to today’s global challenges. In a globalised world, there is no sovereignty if not shared.”
Greens/European Free Alliance co-president Rebecca Harms added:
"We seriously regret the outcome of the referendum. The Greens have always strongly believed that the EU provides by far the best platform for delivering peace and stability and confronting the global challenges we face. In the course of the divisive campaign, there was a concerted effort to delegitimize the EU. However, this vote is also the consequence of the widespread uncertainty and mistrust of the EU, which exists not only in the UK but also in other parts of the EU.
“This vote is a wake-up call for the EU. All pro-European forces need to be self-critical and seek answers to why there is a growing gap to citizens in Europe. We cannot continue with business-as-usual. This means improving how the EU works and, in particular, strengthening democracy and transparency. Without prejudging the outcome of any change, there is also a need to strengthen the involvement of democratic institutions, both the European and national parliaments, in the EU process."
For a deeper dive:
Commentary: The Guardian, Damian Carrington column; Climate Home, Ed King column; Politico, Sara Stefani column; BusinessGreen, James Murray column; Carbon Pulse analysis; Climate Home, Robin Webster op-ed
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Colorado senator and 2020 hopeful Michael Bennet introduced his plan to combat climate change Monday, in the first major policy rollout of his campaign. Bennet's plan calls for the establishment of a "Climate Bank," using $1 trillion in federal spending to "catalyze" $10 trillion in private spending for the U.S. to transition entirely to net-zero emissions by 2050.
When Trump's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its replacement for the Obama-era Clean Power Plan in August 2018, its own estimates said the reduced regulations could lead to 1,400 early deaths a year from air pollution by 2030.
Now, the EPA wants to change the way it calculates the risks posed by particulate matter pollution, using a model that would lower the death toll from the new plan, The New York Times reported Monday. Five current or former EPA officials familiar with the plan told The Times that the new method would assume there is no significant health gain by lowering air pollution levels below the legal limit. However, many public health experts say that there is no safe level of particulate matter exposure, which has long been linked to heart and lung disease.
By Andrea Germanos
Animal welfare advocates are praising soon-to-be introduced legislation in the U.S. that would ban the use of wild animals in traveling circuses.
By Tara Lohan
It's been the wettest 12 months on record in the continental United States. Parts of the High Plains and Midwest are still reeling from deadly, destructive and expensive spring floods — some of which have lasted for three months.
Mounting bills from natural disasters like these have prompted renewed calls to reform the National Flood Insurance Program, which is managed by Federal Emergency Management Agency and is now $20 billion in debt.