Published on 07/07/2017, 9:51am
May’s G20 overture to Trump, her government is preparing a divorce from the EU that will have profound negative consequences for the climate
UK prime minister Theresa May will reportedly champion the Paris Agreement on climate change when she meets Donald Trump this weekend at the G20 summit in Hamburg.
As she does, it is worth bearing in mind that, in the wake of the US president’s decision to pull out of the Agreement, the UK’s divorce from the EU is the last thing the international community needs.
Brexit could have a profoundly destabilising impact on global momentum to address climate change; and the harder the Brexit, the greater the magnitude of these potential repercussions.
The negative consequences, according to a new report I
authored for the Dublin-based Institute of International and European Affairs, ripple out from the loss of UK influence at the EU negotiating table. The EU has traditionally offered leadership in global efforts to address climate change, and together with China is now the glue holding the increasingly fragile Paris Agreement together.
Within the EU, the UK has historically been a key engine of strong climate policy, aligning itself to the clean and green grouping of Member States, including Germany and the Nordic countries.
The UK has consistently taken on more than its fair share of the collectively agreed EU decarbonisation objectives. This was the case for the Kyoto commitment period between 2008 and 2012, and in the post-Kyoto period that we are in currently. Most importantly, the UK is pencilled in for a significantly above average share to the EU’s pledge to the Paris Agreement, a 40% reduction in emissions by 2030.