Brexit: Paris Climate Agreement Will Have To Be Rewritten

  • Date: 27/06/16
  • Graham Lloyd, The Australian

Top UN climate change official Christiana Figueres said Britain’s decision to leave the EU meant the Paris agreement would need to be redrawn.

This could delay EU ratifi­cation of the deal, which is already under pressure because India and Russia have said they were ­unlikely to sign this year.

Unless the Paris agreement is ratified this year by countries representing more than 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, it will be vulnerable to being scrapped completely by a future Donald Trump presidency in the US.

Australia is a minor contrib­utor to total global carbon dioxide emissions but federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt said “our commitment to the Paris agreement remains rock-solid”. […]

Green groups are concerned the Brexit result will sap moment­um from the global climate change response and have linked the successful Leave campaign to high-profile climate sceptics such as Margaret Thatcher’s former treasurer Nigel Lawson.

Lead Brexit campaigner and potential future British prime minister Boris Johnson has also been portrayed as a climate sceptic after dismissing warmer-than-usual summer temperatures as being linked to climate change. Global Warming Policy Foundation director Benny Peiser said the decision by the British people to leave the EU would have ­significant and long-term impli­cations for energy and climate polic­ies. Carbon prices in the EU’s emissions trading market plunged 17 per cent in the wake of the Brexit referendum result.

“It is highly unlikely that the party-political green consensus that has existed in parliament for the last 10 years will survive the seismic changes that are now ­unfolding after Britain’s independence day,” Dr Peiser said.

“Perhaps the most important aspect of the EU referendum has been the astonishing self-determination and scepticism of the British people in face of an unprecedented fear campaign.”

France became the first major industrialised nation to ratify the Paris agreement, on June 15, but the EU cannot officially join until all 28 member states have agreed to do so. The exit of Britain from the EU means the EU agreement will need to be changed and Britain will have to negotiate its own agreement.

Concerns about what the Brexit might mean for Britain’s climate policies has seen the ­European carbon market plunge more than 17 per cent in the wake of the poll.

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