Whilst the UK slips away from the EU efforts to protect the planet, the world continues to turn and global warming continues to go up and up, wreaking the devastation predicted.
The EU has been co-ordinating pledges across the 28 members, providing grants, loans, shared research and common standards. Now the UK (and/or England, Scotland, N Ireland and Wales separately) must now write, or rewrite mountains of legislation taking years, using hundreds of bureaucrats and most of parliamentary attention. The Centre for European Reform in July 2016 identified 6 interlocking sets of negotiations before we have slipped anchor:
- “One set of talks will cover Britain’s legal separation from the EU”
- “the second a free trade agreement (FTA) with the EU”
- “the third interim cover for the UK between its departure from the EU and the entry into force of the FTA”
- “the fourth accession to full membership of the WTO“
- “the sixth co-operation on foreign, defence and security policies.”
And will legislation protecting our Air and reducing our carbon emissions be ‘highly ambitious’ or forgotten?
Carbon emissions and air pollution know no boundaries and actions by the biggest emitters – India and China and the USA will make the most difference. The UK is small and people will say that our contribution is unimportant. But our future relies on innovation and influence. If we allow Climate Change to be shelved until a convenient time other countries may follow our lead. If we co-operate across borders and unleash the best of our innovation and entrepreneurship we can make a difference.
The UK in a Brexit world goes through some of the EU legislation that must be undone/redone and has information about the UK’s formal commitments and reliance on EU financial services to combat Climate Change.
Brexit: What does it mean for the environment? Click here for a podcast of this Castle talk of 26th Sept 2016.
In all the hype and overload of ‘facts’ about the EU there seems little coverage of Climate Change and Air Pollution. Detailed lists of some of the activities and effects of EU legislation eg on Air Pollution are covered at WHAT ARE WE DOING – What is the EU Doing?.
For those who believe that our current transport, energy and agriculture choices are causing the greatest threat to humans ever, talking about trade, jobs, immigrants and even wars – but not Climate Change or Environmental implications – just seems weird.
Friends of the Earth lists the environmental topics of Beaches, Bees, Nature, Waste&Recycling, Green Energy, Air Quality and Fish, concluding that the EU has had significant beneficial effects.
What will happen on many issues if we stay IN or if we come OUT is largely speculation, but the effects of poor leadership and regulation on the causes of Climate Change are becoming increasingly clear – and many of the causes of Climate Change are also the causes of our Air Pollution.
Sources: Map from May 2012 BBC report, pictures from election material
The new London Mayor will have a variety of powers that would help him/her clean our polluted air and lower our carbon emissions. Many powers are ‘soft’ ones such as ‘influence’ and ‘promotion’, but they also include the power of £11.5bn expenditure (p21 of the draft GLA 2016/17 budget being prepared for the new Mayor). Apart from (limited) powers over areas such as Transport and Planning the Mayor will be constrained by UK, EU powers and existing agreements and the candidates can only state their aspirations and ideas at this point, to try to convince London voters that they are the best candidate. The winner will have to try to turn rhetoric into results by dint of their limited powers, their procurement muscle and their leadership and influence skills .
This post has samples from the public domain of statements and promises from the four frontrunners Sian Berry – Green; Zac Goldsmith – Conservative; Sadiq Khan – Labour and Caroline Pidgeon – LibDem, regarding Global Warming and Climate Change; Renewables and Community Energy and Low Pollution Transport. It also has responses to Greenpeace’s questions to the Mayoral candidates at Sadiq Khan, Zac Goldsmith, Caroline Pidgeon..
A summary transcript of the Green Alliance’s Green Hustings. (1hr 34mins) is also included at More.
See Air Pollution – Local effects from Global Causes for a round up of regulations, North London’s Air for more on journey types and what Camden and Haringey can do, and Your Car for information on clean cars – particularly Electric models.
Click here for Waking Up to Poisonous Air , showing this Green Party map of local air quality results:
For Real Time Air Quality information for London click here.
For a CleanSpace Mobile App with a personal monitoring tag click here. (Note: the Tag costs £75, but signing up does offer some incentives, and no responsibility is taken by Transition Highgate for this).
For information about Personal Exposure measuring equipment click here.
Also watch out for the Tzoa wearable device that will measure PM10, PM2.5, dust and pollen, UV, temperature, humidity and atmosphere pressure.
To donate to Client Earths legal action against Defra to abide by the Supreme Court’s order to come up with ambitious new measures to meet EU pollution limits click here. “Your donation will help us fight in the courts for your right to breathe clean air.”
Poor Air Quality affects locations all across the world. See the Air Quality Index for any city to find current pollution levels and also the World Health Organisation database for ambient (outdoor) air pollution monitoring from almost 1600 cities in 91 countries.
Common causes, though they vary in different places, include vehicles, aviation, construction and even domestic boilers. Many of these are sans frontier meaning that co-operation, innovation and regulation has to be at Global, Country (or EU) level.