In a world struggling to preserve its sustainability and tackle on global warming, one major country seems uninterested: after announcing its intention to leave the European Union and electing a new Prime Minister, the UK has all but dissolved the public climate change office, a move which has been catalogued as “shocking” by many environmental agencies.
Theresa May has been elected as the UK’s prime minister in a rather undemocratic way: after the previous PM David Cameron resigned following the Brexit vote, the members of the ruling party (Conservative) elected a new leader, and the leader automatically became PM. Nevertheless, she is quite popular and is generally regarded as strong enough to manage the difficult times ahead. But at least on one point, she’s already failing dramatically, and that’s environmental. Less than a day after becoming the U.K.’s unelected leader, Prime Minister Theresa May closed the government’s climate change office, moving the responsibility over to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. That’s basically like telling a sheep to work in a wolf’s den.
“This is shocking news. Less than a day into the job and it appears that the new prime minister has already downgraded action to tackle climate change, one of the biggest threats we face,” said Craig Bennett, CEO of the environmental group Friends of the Earth.
“This week the government’s own advisors warned of ever growing risks to our businesses, homes and food if we don’t do more to cut fossil fuel pollution.”
Greenpeace executive director John Sauven joined him and said that there is a need for climate leadership, not for steps backwards.
“If we are to continue to have a key global role in environmental action, we need urgent reassurance from the new government that the hard won progress on climate and renewables targets, air pollution, and the protection of wildlife will not be sidelined or abandoned in the Brexit negotiations,” Sauven said.
At the moment, it’s unclear what impact this will have on respecting the Paris agreement.