Quantcast

UK Makes Sneaky Push to Weaken EU Paris Efforts Ahead of Brexit

Politics
Pexels

With one foot out the Brexit door, the UK is secretly trying to weaken EU commitments to the Paris agreement in a move branded "rude" by one member of European parliament (MEP), The Guardian reported Wednesday.


The EU is currently set to reduce its energy use by 20 percent by making improvements to energy efficiency and buildings. The targets cover the years 2014 to 2020, but the UK is lobbying to be allowed to count efficiency improvements made from 2010, and to carry over any improvements made over the target to count towards post-2020 commitments.

The plan was confirmed by leaked documents viewed by The Guardian.

Vice chair of the European parliament's environment committee Benedek Jávor did not mince words in criticizing the UK's proposal.

"This approach would risk failure in our efforts to reach even moderately ambitious overall targets, while the higher—and beneficial targets—that we need to strive for could become lost altogether," Jávor said. He further called it "rude" for the country to try and weaken regulations it would only be beholden to until it formally leaves the EU when Brexit goes into effect.

The revelation also raises concerns about the UK's commitment to fighting climate change in a post-Brexit world.

Unlike their counterparts in the U.S., UK conservatives currently in power have rhetorically embraced global environmental action.

In a speech reported by The Guardian at the UN last September, conservative Prime Minister Theresa May spoke out against President Donald Trump's plans to leave the Paris agreement, for example.

The UK has also emerged as a leader in the global fight against ocean plastics this year, announcing in April a plan to end the sale of single-use plastics like straws and drink stirrers.

But some are concerned that the government's actions won't match its words, and this move confirms those fears.

"This sneaky, behind-the-scenes amendment indicates a government that likes to pretend it is a global leader but will not take the strong policy action needed to deliver the necessary change," shadow international trade and climate spokesman Barry Gardiner told The Guardian.

Likewise, Liberal-Democratic MEP Catherine Bearder told The Guardian it "gave the lie" to the "green revolution" promised by Brexit supporter and UK environment secretary Michael Gove.

These concerns were further supported by a recent risk analysis commissioned by Friends of the Earth that found that Brexit is likely to weaken UK environmental regulations. The analysis found that a 25-year environment plan launched by May and touted by Gove was vague and less ambitious than current EU law.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A man wearing a protective mask sits on the lawn in front of the Australian Parliament house in Canberra, Australia on Jan. 1, 2020. The level of air pollution in Canberra is the highest in the world on some days. Daniiielc / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Researchers now say there is "no safe level" of air pollution exposure after a large-scale study found a correlation between exposure to fine particle matter, known as PM2.5, and cardiac arrests, according to the The Sydney Morning Herald.

Read More
The British Medical Journal announced a fossil fuel divestment campaign. Andrew Matthews / PA Images via Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

Respected medical journal The BMJ drew praise online from climate activists and medical professionals for its newly-announced fossil fuel divestment campaign.

Read More
Sponsored
A roller coaster on the Jersey Shore flooded after Hurricane Sandy. Photo credit: Hurricane_Sandy_New_Jersey_Pier.jpg: Master Sgt. Mark C. Olsen / U.S. Air Force / New Jersey National Guard / CC BY 2.0

New Jersey will be the first state in the U.S. to require builders to take the climate crisis into consideration before seeking permission for a project.

Read More
Workers selectively harvest slightly under-ripe Syrah grapes to make a Blanc de Noir wine for the Israeli winery Zaza on Aug. 6, 2019 in central Israel. Israeli vintners are harvesting their grapes earlier than they did a decade ago due to shorter winters and more intense summers. David Silverman / Getty Images

The climate crisis may be coming for your favorite wines.

Read More
An aerial view of a neighborhood destroyed by the Camp Fire on Nov. 15, 2018 in Paradise, Calif. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Respecting scientists has never been a priority for the Trump Administration. Now, a new investigation from The Guardian revealed that Department of the Interior political appointees sought to play up carbon emissions from California's wildfires while hiding emissions from fossil fuels as a way to encourage more logging in the national forests controlled by the Interior department.

Read More