The British Climate Department Is Gone — But It Could Have More Power Than Ever

by Samantha Page Jul 18, 2016 1:25 pm

The fallout from Brexit continues. The pound has hit record lows against the dollar. Former Prime Minister David Cameron is out, and a new administration of Leave campaigners is in, headed by Theresa May.

In her first day of office, Prime Minister May scratched “Climate Change” from the title of the former Department of Energy and Climate Change, rebranding it into the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

This is shocking news

If there is anything that environmentalists hate, it is when “business” and “industry” are valued more than the stability of our climate, which, they would argue, is invaluable.

“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,” Friends of the Earth U.K. CEO Craig Bennett said in a statement emailed to ThinkProgress.

But while changing the actual name of the office that works on climate change might seem extreme, the change in branding might not be indicative of where the government plans to go.

Simon Bullock, a spokesperson for Friends of the Earth, noted that Greg Clarke, the new head of the newly formed department, is “decent” on climate. “It’s reassuring that although [climate
change] is not in the new department’s title, Clark at least sees climate as a part of his role,” Bullock said in an email.

On Thursday, the new secretary put out a statement, saying he was “thrilled to have been appointed to lead this new department charged with delivering a comprehensive industrial strategy, leading government’s relationship with business, furthering our world-class science base, delivering affordable, clean energy and tackling climate change.”

Under the new departmental structure, oversight of universities was moved out of the former Business and Industrial Strategies Department, so merging the formerly small DECC with business perhaps makes more sense than skeptics might think.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

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