Brexit: Potential impacts on climate change & environment

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29 June 2016

Brexit is not a vote against climate change says UN’s climate chief

Author: Laura Paddison, Guardian Sustainable Business (UK)

Britain’s decision to leave the European Union was not a vote against climate change, nor was it a vote against the innovation key to fighting climate change, UN climate chief Christiana Figueres told an audience of business and policymakers at the annual Business & Climate summit in London today. In her last speech as the head of UN’s climate change body the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Figueres said, “It’s absolutely clear that should article 50 be triggered, the UK would have to reconfigure trading relations with the EU … there’s going to be quite a bit of volatility and uncertainty for at least about two years.” But, she added, “there’s no reason to upset the apple cart on this,” she urged the UK to “stay calm and transform on.”...Figueres told attendees that climate change action was now unstoppable and much bigger than the shorter term political instability we currently face. “The UK has a very important leadership on climate change and there is no reason to change that,” she said...Based on businesses signing up to five global climate change initiatives, including science-based targets and zero deforestation goals, [a new CDP & We Mean Business Coalition] report claims that by 2030 companies could cut 3.7bn tonnes of CO2. This is equivalent to the emissions of today’s EU and more than 60% of the total emissions cuts pledged by countries at Paris.

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28 June 2016

Commentary: Post-Brexit, BSR says companies must aspire for open societies necessary for sustainable business

Author: Aron Cramer, BSR

"Brexit, 2016 Politics, and Lessons for Sustainable Business Leadership," 24 Jun 2016

The people of Britain have narrowly but loudly spoken to halt integration…Elsewhere in Europe…anxiety about migration is rising, and economic opportunity is weak…At its heart, sustainability is about…integrating social and environmental considerations into business, and integrating disparate populations into a global economy that works for everyone. Both of these aspirations require open societies. There are numerous lessons for sustainable business leaders amidst these troubling signs of disintegration…

We must focus more on inclusive economic growth

Inclusive growth is also a climate change question

Big institutions have to stand for basic fairness — in clear terms

The business voice counts — and needs a reboot…Business has a massive interest in open societies, without which open markets cannot thrive...

For leaders focused on sustainable business, it is essential that these core goals be articulated more loudly than ever. But it is equally clear that we need to address the alienation many people feel…and make clear that a fair economy that works for all is the end goal…

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28 June 2016

Companies see higher risks post-Brexit in UK's transition to clean energy

Author: Damian Carrington, Guardian (UK)

"Leave vote makes UK's transition to clean energy harder, say experts," 28 Jun 2016

The UK’s challenge to build a clean, secure and affordable energy system has become significantly harder…following the nation’s vote to leave the European Union…Prof Paul Younger, at the University of Glasgow, said the vote to leave “blasts a hole” in the…EU energy union, which would provide a huge market for the UK’s large offshore wind…as well as smooth out the intermittency of rising renewable energy…The flight risk is particularly high for the energy sector, in which many major players are foreign companies…Jonathan Grant, director at consultants PwC, said: “Many supporters of Brexit [are] also opposed to climate policies such as carbon taxes and efficiency standards.” EDF claims Brexit does not affect their plans, but other big clean energy players have expressed worries. “We still want to grow in the UK, particularly in wind power, but…an exit from the EU introduces more risk to the sector…” said a spokesman for Vattenfall…[Also refers to British Gas and Centrica.]

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28 June 2016

Green businesses react to Brexit & consider what it will mean for the energy & utilities sector

Author: edie newsroom (UK)

"The green business reaction: Could Brexit 'erode' environmental policies?," 24 Jun 2016

…[T]he UK will attempt [to] battle climate change outside of the European Union (EU). With the Government free to implement new independent policies, green businesses have been warned of "periods of uncertainty" that could ultimately "erode" the UK's environmental polices…So what does Brexit mean for green business?...

Tony Ward, head of power & utilities, EY

“…Whatever Government emerges…will need to clarify its policies with respect to climate change, renewable energy…and many other matters…to the utility industry, and to its investors…”…

Phil Foster, managing director, Love Energy Savings 

“…With the possibility of rising energy prices, small business owners should look to cut back wherever they can…”…

David Palmer-Jones, chief executive, SUEZ

"…The environmental services industry stands ready to…work with UK policy-makers to ensure…that we build on the environmental gains achieved over the last two decades.”

Patrick Flaherty, chief executive, AECOM

“…Business inevitably now faces a period of disruption…Focus must remain on energy security and energy independence, as well as progressing the UK’s ambitious infrastructure pipeline.”

[Originally published 24 Jun 2016]

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27 June 2016

Climate-focused companies & NGOs fear Brexit will mean increased difficulty for climate mitigation

Author: Blue & Green Tomorrow (UK)

"Climate Focused Companies React to Brexit," 24 Jun 2016

…[F]ollowing the announcement that the UK public voted to leave the EU…[e]nergy, climate change, and environment focused companies have had their say on what the result could mean...In a briefing note…the think tank E3G set out that while the result will trigger a protracted exit negotiation process, in the interim there is no change to existing rules…The global climate crisis demands that the UK and the EU accelerate the decarbonisation of their economies…The UK’s domestic Climate Change Act remains in place and the UK will ratify the Paris Agreement…The institutional investors group on climate change (IIGCC) called for the government to quickly enact the 5th carbon budget as a test of the government’s intentGreenpeace UK’s John Sauven noted: “Many of the laws that make…our climate safer now hang by a thread.” Client Earth’s CEO James Thornton said…“…we have no idea which laws will be retained since those who campaigned for Brexit…failed to make clear during the campaign which environmental laws would be kept…”…

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27 June 2016

Following Brexit, Friends of the Earth Europe states intl. cooperation & solidarity crucial to protect the environment

Author: Friends of the Earth Europe

"Brexit: reaction," 24 Jun 2016

The UK referendum should be a wake-up call for a new era of politics that builds cooperation and solidarity, with peoples' welfare and the environment at its heart.

Friends of the Earth Europe is committed to creating sustainable and just societies and to protecting the environment. We are living in an increasingly globalised society where every nation is inextricably linked. The most pressing issues of today are global – they do not respect national borders, and cannot be tackled alone.

Magda Stoczkiewicz, Friends of the Earth Europe director comments: "Whether tackling climate change, finding a just solution to the refugee crisis, reversing the rampant destruction of nature, or reigning in corporate greed and cutting inequalities, we need nations in Europe to work together and we need politicians in Brussels and national capitals to take the side of people and the environment above those of vested interests'."

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