People, Environment

Abolition of Climate Agency a Setback for UK

Abolition of Climate Agency a Setback for UKAbolition of Climate Agency a Setback for UK

New United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May’s abolition of the Department of Energy and Climate Change has been heavily criticized by experts and former officials, with some going as far as branding the move as “plain stupid”, according to the British media.

The UK, which proudly touts itself as a leading nation in the global campaign against manmade climate change, has essentially shot itself in the foot by shutting down the sole government agency in charge of devising and implementing climate change policies.

According to the Guardian, the tasks of the department, which included representing the UK at international climate talks, responsibility for meeting carbon targets and levying subsidies for green energy, have been transferred to a beefed-up business department led by Greg Clark.

“This is a major setback for the UK’s climate change efforts. Greg Clark may be nice and he may even be green, but by downgrading the Whitehall status of climate change, Theresa May has hit low carbon investor confidence yet again,” Ed Davey, who served as Liberal Democrat secretary of state at Decc between 2012 and 2015, was quoted as saying.

Ed Miliband, former head of the Labor Party and the department’s first secretary of state, took to Twitter to criticize the move.

“Plain stupid. Climate not even mentioned in new dept title. Matters because depts shape priorities, shape outcomes,” he tweeted.

However, some say there is reason for hope, as Clark, who heads the newly-established Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, has a proven track record when it comes to fighting climate change.

As New Scientist reports, in 2009 Clark gave an entire speech about the economic case for taking action.

Furthermore, Philip Hammond, who is Britain’s new chancellor of the exchequer, is also a supporter of overhauling energy policies to tackle climate change.

In a speech last year, he said: “If we take all of this action, we will reduce the cost of energy and the risks of climate change … We will create jobs and enhance our energy security.”

Only time will tell if May’s reshuffling will help the fight against climate change or hamper the UK’s ability to reduce its carbon emissions.