Published on April 19th, 2017 | by Joshua S Hill0
11 Organizations Urge UK Government Not To “Scale Down” Environmental Policies
April 19th, 2017 by Joshua S Hill
Environmental organizations such as Greenpeace, WWF, and Friends of the Earth have signed a joint letter to the UK Prime Minister warning the UK government against watering down its climate change and environmental policy commitments, following the release of photographed documents suggesting the Government would “scale down” environmental measures in an effort to smooth post-Brexit trade deals.
Earlier this week, a total of eleven organizations and several well-known environmental advocates signed a joint letter to UK Prime Minister Theresa May, on the back of leaked photographed documents which appeared to show that the Government might seek to “scale down” climate change and illegal wildlife trade policies. Rather, the joint letter warns the Government that it must not water down its climate change and environmental commitments during Brexit negotiations, citing repeated promises from the Government to “leave the environment in a better state for future generations.”
In a story that reads one part spy-thriller, one part Yakety Sax clip, photographs of a speech were taken by a passenger on a train earlier this month which appeared to show a speech that Tim Hitchens, the director general of economic and consular affairs at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, would give later this month.
“You have a crucial role to play in posts in implementing our new approach to prosperity against the huge changes stemming from last year’s Brexit vote,” the notes seen by The Sunday Times read. “Trade and growth are now priorities for all posts — you will all need to prioritise developing capability in this area. Some economic security-related work like climate change and illegal wildlife trade will be scaled down.”
The WWF outlined several major issues affecting the UK that would be seriously harmed by any “scaling down” of policy.
“The State of Nature Report, produced in 2016 by a number of the NGO signatories to today’s letter, found that more than half of the UK’s wildlife is in decline including much loved species such as the hedgehog and water vole. There are an estimated 40,000 UK deaths per year attributable to exposure to outdoor air pollution, and flooding events during the winter of 2013/14 caused £1.3 billion of economic damage.”
“The UK Government has demonstrated significant leadership in ratifying the Paris Climate Change Agreement and committing to host another high-level international summit on ending the illegal wildlife trade in London next year, so now is not the time to row back on its commitments,” said Tanya Steele, CEO of WWF. “Our environment must not be sacrificed during the Brexit negotiations. The UK Government must deliver on its promises and leave the environment in a better state for future generations rather than trading away protections for our nature and climate.”
“China’s increasingly strong commitment to limit and then reduce its emissions and Germany’s ability to combine stunning export success with rapid growth of renewables demonstrate the absurdity of the claim that building a low-carbon economy threatens competitiveness,” added Lord Adair Turner, former Chairman of the CBI and WWF Ambassador.
“In fact the UK has managed to cut its emissions by a third since 1990 and grown its economy by over two thirds in the same period.
“UK businesses could save £23billion a year by turning to more resource efficient measures, and renewables technology could create half a million jobs by 2030. Following the Paris Agreement, and with the impact of climate change on homes and businesses becoming impossible to ignore, the UK Government must embrace a low carbon future both in domestic policy and through international trade deals.”
The advocate signatories of the joint letter are: Bishop Richard Chartres, Sir Ian Cheshire, John Elkington, Anna Friel, Stanley Johnson, Graeme Le Saux, Alistair McGowan, Deborah Meaden, Andy Murray, Stephen Poliakoff CBE, Simon Reeve, Lord Stuart Rose, Sir Crispin Tickell GCMG KCVO, Andrew Triggs Hodge OBE, Lord Adair Turner, and Will Young. They were joined by elevel environmental organistions: Tanya Steele, Chief Executive, WWF; Will Travers OBE, President, Born Free Foundation; Chris Bain, Director, CAFOD; Paul Valentin, International Director, Christian Aid; Oliver Smith, Chief Executive, David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation; Craig Bennett, Chief Executive, Friends of the Earth; John Sauven, Executive Director, Greenpeace; Tamsin Cooper, Acting Director, Green Alliance; Penny Lawrence, Deputy Chief Executive, Oxfam GB; Dr Mike Clarke, Chief Executive, RSPB; and Stephanie Hilborne OBE, Chief Executive, The Wildlife Trusts.