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Post-Brexit: The UK Must Continue To Fight for Environmental and Climate Progress

EmmamHowe MA, United States 0 Ratings 33 Discussions 1 Group posts

Posted by: EmmamHowe // Marketing/Green Policy Development

Ever since the term Brexit, the decision of whether the UK should leave the European Union or not, was coined June of 2012, green groups have been warning voters that the decision to leave will have disastrous environmental consequences. Their arguments are not without evidence, as these groups have been pointing to the 2016 high-profile report from the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP), which concludes that Brexit will lead to “significant risks” for nature. Previous EU legislation has cleaned up the UK, the IEEP report concludes, despite the fact that successive British governments often fought the rules in Brussels. And with the results of the Brexit referendum now revealing that the UK will indeed leave the European Union, environmentally conscious citizens and organizations all over the UK will need to fight to make sure the UK stays focused on pursuing a green agenda.

Currently, many groups fear this ‘Brexit’ will set the UK years back in environmental progress, causing the UK to once again be viewed as the ‘dirty man of Europe,’ the name other European Union members gave it when it first joined the EU back in 1973 due to its sewage-infested waters and its high sulphur dioxide emissions. And with the current UK government showing distaste for renewable energy and holding back offshore wind and solar developments in Scotland, many fear the consequences the leave will have on UK environmental policy.

As a part of the EU, the UK was being held to the EU’s environmental policy standards, which had them on target to attain 15 percent of its energy from renewables by 2020, but now it will need to negotiate its own climate targets with the UN, and since many of the politicians backing the leave vote are climate skeptics who are against renewable energy, this could embolden them to water down environmental laws they say are pushing up energy prices and making companies uncompetitive. Lord Deben, chairman of the Committee on Climate Change, believes the UK will now have much less clout outside the EU, which could raise pressure on businesses and make them less willing to accept environmental restrictions. Thus, it is crucial to recognize the importance of continuing EU environmental policies like the 2008 Climate Change Act, which allowed the UK to get a record 25 percent of its electricity from renewable generators in 2015. EU rules have led to a decline in pollution and carbon emissions and to an increase in biodiversity protection, the report by the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) states.

Since the Brexit decision will no longer hold the UK to EU environmental standards, it is now more important than ever before for green groups across the UK to band together and demand environmental action. We need to heed the message of Friends of the Earth campaigner, Sam Lowe, “it is not possible to address the challenges of the future - such as climate change and the destruction of the natural world - alone. We should be working together, not pulling apart.”

For more information and to read the full IEEP report see:
http://www.ieep.eu/assets/2000/IEEP_Brexit_2016.pdf
https://www.foe.co.uk/sites/default/files/downloads/eu-referendum-environment-81600.pdf
http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-35758427
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/apr/04/brexit-could-put-britains-environment-at-risk-says-stanley-johnson

Reply
Allison Friedman Weston, MA, united-states 0 Ratings 368 Discussions 92 Group posts

Allison Friedman // Rate It Green Admin

is anyone else worrying that the final Brexit vote tally was:

51.9% voting for leaving the EU
48.1% voting to remain in the EU

This seems an incredibly momentous decision to make on a simple majority vote?

It's important that every citizen feels that their opinion, and vote, counts on important national issues and I think it's important that governments understand that many people are feeling left out of decision making generally and specifically, the information economy and what I hope will be the future global sustainable economy. This vote is a wake up call that people are feeling frustrated and need to be heard. They need to be part of solutions and not left out and told how wonderful the present and future are or are going to be if they aren't feeling that this is true. But a protest vote and a significant global political realignment are two quite different things entirely.

It seems unsettling that this was no landslide on which to base this kind of decision. People need to take responsibility for their votes of course, but there's also an obligation for responsible voter education when you pose this kind of referendum. I worry that all of us in this day and age are susceptible to sound bites and more emotional messages that may not contain the (more boring but important (facts and potential repercussions. Whoever can shout the loudest or push our buttons the most wins? Is this about money, but also more than that - slightly frightening emotional manipulation? And this is on all sides of issues- lots of parties and people and organizations seem to have decided that the ends justify their means lately.

NPR reports that UK google searches one of the highest volume UK google searches as and after the polls closed and into the night and the next day after the Brexit vote was apparently, "What is the EU?" Did thousands of people so want to defy their establishment leaders that they just voted the opposite of what these officials wanted, without understanding or perhaps believing the consequences?

http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2016/06/24/480949383/britains-google-searches-for-what-is-the-eu-spike-after-brexit-vote

Another top question for searchers, "What is Brexit?"

As a global community facing so many critical issues on which we must collaborate for a better and safer world for all, we've got to recognize the importance of truly and fairly educated electorates. This isn't some snack we're seeing advertised - it's our future.

Its hardly clear that people intended do understood outcomes that are now not only causing global ripples, but may impact them in ways they just would not have chosen. It's one thing if this was what people meant, and another entirely if they're now waking up with quite a political hangover.

 

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