Brexit: No excuse to ‘go back to year zero’ on climate

UK elections

Creative Commons: Berit Watkin, 2011

As the UK’s vote to leave the European Union sends shockwaves across the world, green groups warn the move cannot be an excuse to “go back to year zero on environmental protection”.

In the hours since the final votes were counted the pound has crashed to the lowest levels since 1985,UK prime minister David Cameron has announced his intentions to step down, and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said a second Scottish independence referendum was now highly likely.

The exact details of the UK’s exit from the European Union will be years in the making,but fears of prolonged uncertainty and a hiatus of clean energy investment are already palpable, as are worries that decades of progress on environmental legislation will be unpicked.

Coming halfway through what’s set to be the hottest year on record, and six months after nearly 200 countries agreed the Paris Agreement, the UK’s decision to leave the EU does not erase its strong commitment to decarbonise its economy.

Green groups now warn that there is no “time for the environment to take a back seat” and urge “politicians of all parties to affirm their commitment to strong environmental laws and to guarantee united action on climate change.

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