14 may 2016

Brexit threatens disaster in climate change battle

letter to Financial Times, May 14, 2016

Sir, The warning by former US security advisers that Brexit could “unravel” EU (May 11) applies to more than the narrow confines of traditional national security concerns. Brexit could also unravel any ambition to combat climate change in the EU. The fact is that the UK has consistently been, indeed in many cases led, the progressive camp of EU member states in EU internal climate change deliberations, in particular with respect to greenhouse gas mitigation targets. Brexit would be a fatal blow to the progressive member states and result in a race to the bottom of post-Brexit EU mitigation ambitions. Moreover, there would be no way in which the UK could compensate (even if willing) the shortfall of EU ambition after a Brexit. Indeed, chances are that it would follow the EU “for reasons of competitiveness”. Given that EU emissions are significant in the global context, Brexit could really be potentially disastrous for the global fight against climate change.

Professor Benito Müller
(Convener, International Climate Policy Research, Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford, Oxon, UK)

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