Brexit Climate Deniers

There is a deep-rooted connection between UK climate science deniers and those campaigning for Britain to leave the European Union.

brexit climate deniers

On 23 June 2016 the UK voted to leave the EU in a referendum on Brtain's membership of the union. The 'Brexit' vote came after Prime Minister David Cameron promised in his 2015 Conservative Party election manifesto to hold a referendum on the UK’s membership in the EU before the end of 2017.

Since then, the link between climate science deniers and Eurosceptics has become more pronounced. In February 2016, it was revealed that Lord Lawson's climate denying Global Warming Policy Foundation had moved its headquarters into the same building as Brexit campaign groups 'Business for Britain' and 'Vote Leave', along with a slew of other right wing organisations including the TaxPayers' Alliance.  

The Brexit-climate denier overlap stems from a common neoliberal ideology that fears top-down state interventions and regulations which are perceived as threatening values of individual freedom, economic (market) freedom, or the sovereignty of national governments. Under this logic, we must reject both the European Union and most climate policy. 

And the influence of this small group extends beyond the walls of their 55 Tufton Street address - just a stone's throw from the Houses of Parliament - to include prominent politicians and traditional British media outlets. It begs the question: If the climate-euro sceptic bubble is successful on Brexit, what will then happen to British climate change policy? 

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By Mat Hope • Wednesday, November 30, 2016 - 22:50
Coal power plant by a canal

Many hoped the EU’s mammoth new energy regulations would crack down on dirty coal. Instead, the European Commission bowed to industry pressure and offered the world’s dirtiest power source a lifeline.

And Brexit means the UK could end up offering even more fossil fuel subsidies than its neighbours.

The commission on Wednesday released its 1000-page vision for the region’s energy system, known as the energy package.

Among the many new clauses and directives was the revelation that governments could continue to subsidise coal power for a further eight years through capacity mechanism schemes.

By Mat Hope • Thursday, November 24, 2016 - 08:00

With Donald Trump set to become the President of the United States, the international climate change political scenery has shifted.

The president-elect’s stance on “quitting” the Paris Agreement seems to have softened in recent days. But countries are still going to need strong diplomatic teams to shore-up the global commitment to tackling climate change, reiterated at the Marrakech climate talks last week.

So it’s notable that the UK’s climate diplomacy team appears to weakening.

For the second year in a row, the foreign office reduced the number of people working on climate change and energy, documents released by the government this week under a freedom of information request show.

By Mat Hope • Friday, November 18, 2016 - 13:12
The UK 'Green is Great' display at the COP22 UN climate talks in Marrakech

The world needs a new climate leader, but domestic turmoil means the UK is currently in no position to deliver.

The COP22 UN climate talks in Marrakech, set to wrap up today, aimed to build on the momentum generated by the historic Paris Agreement, signed by 196 countries last year.

The Marrakech meeting was never going to match the blockbuster Paris negotiations. Nonetheless, it was meant to be what delegates have referred to as the ‘COP of action’.

By Mat Hope • Thursday, November 10, 2016 - 15:33
SustainUS Youth Group protest at COP22 Marrakech

It has been a frustrating few months for young people struggling to get their voices heard in a political system that must seem designed to alienate them.

There is a sense that their future is being ravaged by an electorate too old to live out the consequences of their choices. A trepidation that is particularly keenly felt on issues that disproportionately affect younger generations, such as climate change.

By Mat Hope • Tuesday, November 8, 2016 - 14:24
EU pavillion COP22 Marrakech

The UK’s position within the international community has become somewhat uncertain since its decision to leave the EU this summer. As long as the government continues to pursue its domestic climate agenda, EU officials say it will not be sidelined at the international talks currently ongoing in Marrakech, however.

The UK has traditionally been seen as a climate leader within the bloc. But since June’s referendum, the country’s climate policy has been in a state of flux.

It has delayed the release of a consultation on a promised coal phase-out, is yet to release its new plan to meet the UK’s emission reduction commitments, and hasn’t detailed how it will enshrine key goals from the Paris Agreement in UK law.

By Antoaneta Roussi • Wednesday, November 2, 2016 - 15:59
House of Lords EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee

Experts today urged lawmakers to stay strong in the face of industry lobbying to weaken the UK’s climate policies and environmental regulations as part of a ‘hard’ Brexit.

The comments were made at an oral evidence session of the House of Lords’ EU Energy and Environment sub-committee. The committee is conducting an inquiry entitled ‘Brexit: environment and climate change’ to inform a report due in early 2017.

Professor Michael Grubb from University College London told Lords that he is increasingly aware of a narrative that Britain is desperate for foreign investment and will do anything to make itself industry friendly.

By Mat Hope • Monday, October 31, 2016 - 06:00
Lord Nigel Lawson

Climate science denial group, the Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF), has told Lords that the government should conduct a “wholesale re-evaluation of its decarbonisation policies”, “urgently amend the Fifth Carbon Budget”, and reconsider “all relevant EU legislation” in the wake of Brexit.

Of the 64 written submissions to an inquiry by the House of Lords’ Economic Affairs Committee, the GWPF’s was the only one to suggest Brexit should lead the government to revise the UK’s climate plans.

The committee is conducting a post-Brexit inquiry into “The Economics of UK Energy Policy”. It was accepting written evidence until September 30, and will continue to gather oral evidence over the coming weeks for a report due in 2017.

By Mat Hope • Thursday, October 27, 2016 - 13:50
Fracking protest poster

The British public remains staunchly opposed to fracking, despite the government’s best efforts to back the fledgling industry.

New government figures show only 17 percent of the British public supports the practice, while 33 percent of respondents say they are against it.

That’s the lowest level of support for fracking since the government’s own survey began.

The findings mirror another recent poll that shows the public is hardening its opposition to shale gas extraction.

By Will Yeates • Wednesday, October 26, 2016 - 15:59
House of Lords EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee, oral evidence on for Brexit: environment and climate change inquiry

Experts today urged lawmakers to take care filling a void in the UK’s environmental laws that could occur if the government pursues a ‘hard Brexit’.

The comments were made at an oral evidence session of the House of Lords’ EU Energy and Environment sub-committee. The committee has begun an inquiry entitled ‘Brexit: environment and climate change’ to inform a report due in early 2017.

Professor Maria Lee from University College London told Lords that if the UK pursues a full departure from the EU, “there will be an enormous gap which EU primary legislation currently fills.”

By Kyla Mandel • Sunday, October 16, 2016 - 08:01
Christopher Monckton Texit

Imagine this scenario: a group of Texas secessionists travel to Europe to spread the word of ‘Texit’.

This is what happened last week. The Texas Nationalist Movement visited England and France to “offer advice and perspective on the right of self-determination and peaceful independence”.

As the group’s website reads: “TNM greatly appreciates that our opinion is valued by our liberty-minded friends in Europe.”

Spurred on by the successful Brexit vote this past summer, the Texit movement — championed by climate science denier Christopher Monckton — now hopes to inspire and advise similar movements in France, Greece, and Spain.

This cross-Atlantic cooperation highlights the growing network between British and American euro-climate sceptics.