An Ecuity Briefing on the impact of Brexit on UK energy Summary
“High levels of co – operation on energy and climate will still be the best way for the UK and EU to decarbonise rapidly at low cost.” (The Green Alliance, 2017)
The UK currently has robust statutory frameworks in place for energy and climate change policy, yet some concerns exist regarding this following the UK’s departure from the European Union. These concerns include, but are not limited to:
- The EU may become less ambitious without the influence of the UK. Further it could weaken other countries attempts at climate mitigation if the UK is not ‘sitting at the table.’ In the EU, the UK can share best practice – for instance Poland could emulate the way in which the UK has been phasing out coal.
- Conversely, the UK itself may become less ambitious post Brexit. Despite fast approaching carbon budgets, the UK’s commitment to climate change mitigation may waiver without pan European pressure.
- Marginal abatement costs may grow.
- There may be less investment in UK Energy Infrastructure – nearly 30% of all loans to the UK from the European Investment bank in the last 5 years have supported energy infrastructure (this equates to £8 million.)
Potential Pathways for Climate change Cooperation
The Umbrella Group
Comprised of the US, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Canada and Kazakhstan, the Umbrella Group places a strong emphasis on the need for major developing countries emitters to take more responsibility for mitigating climate change.
The Environmental Integrity Group (EIG)
Switzerland, Korea, Mexico, Liechtenstein, Monaco and Georgia make up this group which was initiated by Switzerland during negotiations of the Kyoto Protocol. Currently, the group is recognized as the only negotiating body that includes both developed and developing states. This “group of diversity,” as described by Jai-chul Choi (Korea’s ambassador for climate change) serves as the bridge to “help find common ground between blocs with different interests” and does so through promoting the environmental integrity of the climate change regime.
A bespoke arrangement (EU +) or free standing/ go it alone
Some argue it would be too politically contentious for the UK to join the Umbrella Group and not especially beneficial for them to join the EIG, hence a bespoke arrangement or being free standing would be better options.
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