Monday, 11 July 2016

Ways in which Brexit will help the environment

‘Always look on the bright side of life’. That was a theme associated with the ‘Life of Brian’ (as is strife within the popular fronts of the Labour Party these days of course, but I won’t go into that now). So what’s good about Brexit? Well, it might be a crushing blow to our British economy and environmental laws, but in other ways it might actually help..... 
One way Brexit will definitely help is that the green interest groups will find it easier to get their way on various environmental issues in EU institutions. The UK won’t be around to perform their usual watering-down role! Take the issue of air pollution. The UK has been an opponent of tightening up EU air pollution regulations. As the Guardian reported on June 3rd this year; ‘EU states have agreed to water down a proposed law aimed at halving the number of deaths from air pollution within 15 years, after intense lobbying from the UK that cross-party MEPs have condemned as “appalling”......Some 14,000 people will die prematurely every year across Europe from 2030 as a result, if the weakened proposal is implemented, according to figures cited by the environment commissioner, Karmenu Vella.’
Then there is the issue of chemicals which scientists say are killing bees. The EU banned farmers using neocontinoids in 2014, and bees are said now to be recovering, but the UK dragged its feet at first allowing the NFU to use the chemicals in 2015. In the USA the chemicals are still used widely and bee numbers are declining. In the UK the number of bees declined by 15 per cent in 2015 according to the Beekeepers Association, continuing a trend that has set in for many years.
Under pressure from the NFU the Government has allowed farmers to carry on using these chemicals. Of course, once more over the cliff, our British lemming friends must go!
Then there is the issue of renewable energy targets. The UK, under great pressure, accepted the 2009 EU Renewable target which was set as a mandatory commitment for 2020. We’re now set to get 30 per cent of our electricity from renewable energy by 2020, even if we haven’t met our target from energy as a whole. However the UK Government has strongly resisted a further rigorous target for 2030. Clearly, without the UK, the EU could set a stronger renewable energy and energy efficiency ambition!
Moreover, anti-nuclear greens may be cheered by news that Chinese investors in Hinkley C are spooked by financial instability in the UK and the declining value of the £ making it even less likely that the Hinkley C nuclear power development will go ahead ahead.
Now, think about it, under Brexit, the UK will have a bad environment. But at least it will be better in the rest of the EU! Progress in implementing a range of environmental initiatives in the EU will be a lot smoother and more effective! Indeed, if by some miracle the UK does remain inside the internal market, the UK will have to obey the EU environmental laws anyway, but won’t be able to have any say in making them! Ideal, you could say!
But there is one pretty sure way in which the environment is likely to benefit from Brexit, and that is reducing UK energy consumption and thus reducing carbon emissions.  That’s because the Brexit-inspired reduction in economic growth will reduce energy consumption. Indeed, the Government will now find that the need to build new conventional power stations is much reduced or even abolished with Brexit. The UK’s power demand has, in any case, been going down since around 2005. Now it is set to continue to decline with slower economic growth, or even plummet with a recession. Not only will we need less power plant and coal and gas burning but people will not be able to afford to heat their own homes as much. Less energy consumption means lower carbon dioxide emissions! Another environmental winner from Brexit. See a previous post for more details

But of course there is the ‘piece de resistance’, they say, in a language now increasingly banished from English schools. That is Brexit as a means to deter any other country from thinking about quitting the EU! With so much economic and political chaos in the UK, populist politicians who where thinking about asking for referendums about EU or euro membership are now forgetting the idea or having serious second thoughts.

So as the UK descends into political and economic chaos, think about the gains, the supreme sacrifice we are making in saving the EU from the English anti-green menace....not to mention reducing carbon emissions!......

1 comment:

  1. New Scentist came up with a similar line this week- the EU would be better off without us !