On 23 June, the British people will go to the polls to decide whether they want to leave or remain in the European Union.
Following intense negotiations on reforms to the UK’s membership of the EU – which focused on migration and the Eurozone – on 19 February, Prime Minister David Cameron fired the official starting gun on the referendum campaign.
As influential politicians, business leaders and organisations lineup to take sides on the debate, there is immense speculation on what the decision could mean for a wide range of environmental issues, what impact it could have on the UK’s ability to effectively tackle climate change, and how it could hit the UK’s renewable energy industry.
- Brexit could have far reaching implications for UK climate and energy issues. From beaches to water, air to natural habitats, EU laws and directives have had a huge impact on Britain’s environment. While the bits of European policy that would continue to apply to the UK remain unclear, commentators from business to politics have warned of the potential impact a “leave” vote could have on climate change, energy security and the renewable industry.
- Climate change knows no borders, and is better tackled together. Climate change doesn’t stop at one country and last December all nations agreed on the need for a collective effort to tackle this growing threat. Accounting for just two per cent of global emissions – compared to the EU’s 20 per cent – the UK has already played an important role in shaping Europe’s contribution to the Paris Agreement, and has been a “leading advocate for ambitious EU climate policy”.
- Leave or stay, the UK has committed itself to ambitious climate action. The UK has a legally binding commitment to cut emissions 80 per cent by 2050, and last year, as part of the EU, it joined nearly 200 other countries pledging to phase out fossil fuels. By supporting the booming renewables industry and enacting and staying on track with its ambitious climate target the UK will reap huge economic, climate and health benefits and help drive the transition to a 100 per cent clean energy future.