Could Brexit cost the EU its climate goals?


According to new research from the UK’s University of Sheffield, that may be the case, with findings suggesting the breakaway from the European Union may potentially weaken regulations.

The research notes that certain “climate science denier governments” based in central and eastern Europe would enjoy more influence over proceedings if the UK, which has taken a firm stance on emissions reduction, being the first European country to legislate the transition to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The study notes the UK’s position a “key player” historically in fighting for stronger climate regulations for the EU, and Britain’s role in setting a positive example for other countries to follow through domestic policies.

Researchers claim this will be impacted by difficult Brexit negotiations, and make future cooperation at COP26 in 2020 more difficult.

Also troubling is a potential trade deal with the US, which pulled out of the Paris Agreement, which research suggests which could influence the UK to follow suit.

The University’s research team see this as particularly concerning, as a no-deal Brexit puts little in the way of the UK diluting its own climate regulations.

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Professor Charlotte Burns, Professorial Fellow in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Sheffield, said: “The UK and EU should be working together to meet the goals laid out in the Paris Agreement and set out roadmaps to achieve net zero carbon emissions across the continent by 2050.

“But Brexit has created uncertainty and raised the risk that the climate crisis will be pushed off the political agenda at this critical moment.”