Guest essay by Eric Worrall
British Conservative Politician Ian Duncan MEP is worried that when Britain Leaves the EU, the entire European Union green programme could collapse, because Britain won’t be around to pay for it.
Brexit could ‘derail’ EU attempts to fight climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, say MEPs
Exclusive: European Carbon Trading Scheme (ETS) could lose £1.7bn worth of funding once Britain exits the trade bloc
Britain’s decision to leave the trading bloc could have a detrimental impact on the European Carbon Trading Scheme (ETS), which is the flagship policy aimed at cutting carbon emissions across the continent.
The United Kingdom is committed to providing almost €2bn (£1.7bn) worth of funding for the scheme, without which it is not yet clear how the system will survive.
Ian Duncan MEP, who is the Conservatives’ European spokesman on energy and climate change and also the lead lawmaker on reforming the ETS, said there was a “serious risk” Brexit could stop the functioning of the scheme, leading to “disastrous” consequences.
“In order for ETS to work a number of funds were created to help Eastern European nations to address the challenges of modernising their Soviet-era energy generators and manufacturing companies.
“The UK is one of the major contributors to this fund and after it leaves the finance for this fund will not be there,” Mr Duncan told The Independent.
“Without it, there is a serious risk not only that the ETS stops functioning post-Brexit, but that the EU loses support for its climate change targets altogether. With Donald Trump in the White House, the consequences of this could be disastrous for global efforts to tackle climate change.”
I think these fears are well founded.
Some of those former Soviet bloc countries are strangely reluctant to abandon coal. For example energy hungry Poland, whose heavy industry based economy has surged on the back of cheap coal power which allows it to undercut other members of the European Union, for some reason doesn’t want to go back to being poor.
Without a deluge of British cash to ease the transition back to penury, it will be much more difficult to convince Polish politicians to look the other way as the European Union attempts to dismantle the crown jewel of Poland’s economy.