Britain’s surprising vote to leave the European Union in a national referendum on Thursday sent a shock through global financial markets, and there is similar concern that the move will have profound implications for climate policy as well.
Clean energy investments, carbon markets and the Paris climate agreement weren’t a major part of the calculus when Britons went to the polls, but now environmentalists fear Britain’s contribution to global climate action may be compromised, with negative ramifications for global warming.
“It leaves me shocked, disappointed and extremely concerned about the future of environmental protections in the UK,” James Thornton, the chief executive of ClientEarth, a non-profit environmental law organization with offices in London, Brussels and Warsaw, said in a statement. “Many of the laws which my organization uses to ensure that nature and health are protected in Britain were drawn up with the UK’s agreement in Brussels. Now as the UK prepares to go it alone, we have no idea which laws will be retained.”
The UK’s former energy and climate change secretary Edward Davey went further, quoting the Bible in a tweet.
“Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing”