With Britain preparing to break away from the EU, it faces uncertainty regarding its Climate Change Policy (CCP).
What will the outcomes be and how will this affect the wider European community going forward?
Brexit may have a wider-reaching effect on EU emissions targets, as it is still not clear whether Britain will ratify its targets for the Paris Climate Agreement as an EU member-state. Unambitious European targets, and the future implementation of new domestic climate legislation, however, could result in the UK taking giant leaps forward in the fight against Global Warming.
Following the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, where 37 countries reduced global emissions by over 10% from 1990 levels, the Paris Climate Agreement was signed by 194 members, in 2015. Unlike its predecessor, the Paris Agreement has been agreed on a country-by-country basis, although the EU had negotiated its emissions targets collectively. Consequently, the EU must delay ratification until the fate of the UK is decided. According to Rachel Kyte, CEO of the UN’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative, this delay is “best, a distraction. At worst, disruptive.”
Whilst this has caused some disruption to specific objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement, it will not necessarily have any broader effects on reducing emissions globally. The EU’s emissions, including the UK, amounts to just 10% of global levels, and data suggests we are still on track to reach the targets set.
From a domestic perspective, Brexit could be overwhelmingly positive for Britain’s CCPs. By 2016, the UK had proved itself one of the most successful countries worldwide in its efforts to reduce its carbon footprint, lowering emissions 41% from 1990 levels. Notably, it has already met many of the preliminary European emissions targets for 2030 of reducing emissions by 40% from 1990 levels.
Projections from the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) show UK greenhouse gas emissions falling by a further 53% between 2015 and 2020. This performance, along with the unchallenging EU targets, has led the UK to introduce the British Climate Change Act of 2008. There is now an opportunity for the UK to introduce further domestic legislation which better represents the UK’s potential to positively influence the climate change effort on an international scale.
Despite the questions surrounding Theresa May’s position on Climate Change, her incorporation of the Department of Energy and Climate Change into the new Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) could see climate change initiatives being more incorporated into the energy and industrial sectors. Furthermore, the UK remains committed to the targets set by the year 2050, including reducing domestic transport emissions, which make up nearly a quarter of UK emissions, to between 17% and 28% lower than 2009 levels. They also anticipate the conversion to low carbon industry, electricity, agriculture, land use, forestry and waste.
As far as renewable energy is concerned, the UK’s continued commitment to battling climate change, along with the inevitable future implementation of more ‘Nationally Determined Contributions’ (NDCs), can only be a sign of continued growth in this sector. The low carbon economy is growing at almost three times the rate of the wider economy. Following Climate Bonds Initiative’s (CBI) annual conference on March 20, a new campaign has been unveiled by UN Climate Chief Christiana Figueres, calling for public and corporate capital expenditure programs to be aligned with climate and emissions goals.
In the wake of these revelations, Amio Wealth has realised the outstanding potential in this area, and is offering bonds in one of the most exciting and fastest growing sectors of the industry, waste-to-energy. Some of the highest reductions in emissions have come from advances in waste management, with emissions levels in the sector over 70% lower in 2016 than they were in 1990.
Amio Wealth is working with one of the leading waste-to-energy companies, as we fund a revolutionary project converting everyday waste into renewable energy and developing a portfolio of waste-to-energy plants across the UK. This is contributing greatly to help solve the growing plastic problem, whilst also meeting increasing demands for clean energy. The project collaborates with one of the Midlands’ largest independent waste management companies which will supply at least 159,000 tonnes of waste per annum as feedstock, converting the waste into low-emission fuels such as bio-coal and synthetic gas.