Is climate change still on the agenda?

Paul P

Paul Phillips
Director of Consultancy Services, Assurity Consulting
25th July 2016

I’m not going to offer my opinion on whether leaving the EU is good or bad, as most people seem fairly set on their own conclusions. One of the more surprising fallouts from the recent political turmoil, the abolition of the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), seems to draw more of a consensus however – one of shock and bemusement.

As the years roll on, there appear to be increasing calls that we must act now, to prevent irreversible climate change. Following COP21 in Paris last November (at which, the UK was naturally represented by DECC), there was optimism and a need to ratify the agreements quickly. Since Theresa May took the decision to scrap DECC, whether we ratify and the question of who will take that decision, seems up in the air. Other questions remain unanswered too – why reduce the profile of ‘climate change’ by rolling DECC into a larger ‘Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’, at a time when maximum awareness is needed? Who will take responsibility for ensuring the UK meets its obligation to reduce carbon emissions by 80% from 1990 levels?

The environment took back seat during the referendum campaigns, but as arguably the biggest challenge we face, is this move a sign that climate change will slip down the agenda? What impact would that have on our businesses and the way they operate? Would any perceived benefits from reduced red tape, really be worth the long term risks? Only time will tell.