Europe has been riddled with issues of Brexit since news broke out that the United Kingdom intends to leave the European Union for good. Everyone was asking what will happen next and just how much impact the Brexit will have, not only to Europe but to the rest of the world. It’s the ubiquity of the English language that may have caused this, and it’s about to go forward. Brexit is actually a two-year process before the UK finally leaves the European Union for good in March 2019.
The whole world is watching, along with many of Europe’s small companies, not just because we were all caught off guard by UK’s decision but more so because we are curious as to its effect on a variety of issues, most especially on problems affecting the environment. Climate change is a hot topic for quite some time now because most of us have realized that it is no longer just a threat but an existing problem with destructive consequences if we don’t act on it timely and wisely.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, President Donald Trump is ignoring the issue of climate change and pushes for budget cuts that can impede any progress made when it comes to protecting the environment and addressing crucial climate change issues.
It’s barely mentioned in the election campaign or reported in the media. But a powerful faction of Tory ministers, ex-ministers and backbench MPs are bent on using Brexit to ignite a massive bonfire of ‘spirit-crushing’ laws on wildlife protection, air and water pollution, pesticides, renewable energy and public health, writes Brendan Montague. At risk are not just EU directives and regulations but even the UK‘s own Climate Change Act. May’s Brexit may not just be hard, but very, very dirty.
Theresa May in calling an election with less than seven weeks’ notice is bullying the voter into a panic decision: one that could jeopardise the health and happiness of future generations.
While the whole world watches in anticipation on what’s next for the UK and the European Union after the Brexit drama, we will likely witness decades worth of negotiations on environmental regulations go down the drain. However, the decision to go ahead with Brexit was the consensus of 51.9% of almost everyone of voting age in the UK who voted “yes” for this referendum.
The Conservatives simply cannot deliver the Brexit the right-wingers promised: the party is now slowing pulling apart under the weight of its internal contradictions. The most significant and serious of these contradictions, in terms of the long-term wealth and health of the country, concerns the environment.
May is proposing that 12,000 regulations are copied and pasted into the UK statute book through the Great Repeal Bill: but an estimated 1,000 will need to be changed in the process. There are more than 200 laws “covering water and air quality, waste management, nature protection, industrial pollution control, chemicals and GMOs, noise and forestry”.
“All EU laws will transfer into British law”, May explained. “And then we can unpick them one by one as we please.”
Who would want to unpick environmental protections? The middle-ranking businessmen who funded the Leave campaign, who populate the neoliberal wing of the party, and who supported Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, are desperate to revive their profits.
A new election will take place in the UK on June 8, 2017, as mandated by their new Prime Minister Theresa May, which aims to strengthen the administration’s hand on the Brexit negotiation.
Co-leader Jonathan Bartley said: “These laws protect our air, water and climate and they affect everyone in the UK who values our natural world.”
He wants a new Environmental Protection Act to replace EU legislation.
The government says EU environmental protection rules will be copied across into UK law to ensure continuity.
But environmental campaigners fear the government will start scrapping them after Britain‘s exit from the EU to cut red tape.
Mr Bartley, who co-leads the Green Party of England and Wales with MP Caroline Lucas, said: “Brexit is an unprecedented threat to the environment and puts 40 years of legislation at risk.”
While politics and trade are the main issues when it comes to Brexit, we can’t avoid tackling issues affecting environmental interests since the leaving of the UK from the EU has a big impact on current climate change policies. Many environmentalists fear that all existing talks and projects concerning the environment and climate change will be abolished if the UK pursues Brexit.
If Brexit happens, roughly 40 years of legislation in aid of environmental awareness and conservation will disappear just like that. Some pending projects include the development of smart cities, climate projects, and rural economies will no longer be realized. The UK would also lose a great deal of funding from the EU to help address climate change and in support the environment. Even nuclear and energy issues would be major problems that need to be delved deeper before the UK proceeds with Brexit. There is a lot at stake but we can only wait in anticipation on what will happen next in this monumental break-up of sorts.