Going, going, gone—farewell to DECC

Going, going, gone—farewell to DECC

FarewellDECCEnvironmental protection in the UK faces its second shocking blow in just over 3 weeks, as we learn that the department of energy and climate change (DECC) is to be abolished.

While many of us are still working hard to understand what the Brexit vote could mean for environmental protection in the UK, we must now also take on board the fact that we no longer have a government department dedicated to climate change policies.

Announcements made set out that DECC will be merged with a new department for business, energy and industrial strategy, but with climate change omitted from the title, this is clearly an indication of Teresa May’s priorities. Will this beefed up business and energy ministry really give climate change the attention it requires?

Just this week, the Committee on Climate Change’s Adaption Sub-Committee published its report setting out the six greatest risks of climate change. Some of these include risks of flooding, impacts of higher temperatures and species and habitat loss. The report stressed urgent action needed to be taken now, as these effects are already starting to be felt.

With no DECC, who will be accountable for the statutory obligation contained in the Climate Change Act 2008 to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions by 80% from the 1990 baseline?   And what department will take the lead on achieving the COP 21 outcomes agreed in Paris?

Given what a critical point we are at with climate change, it seems incongruous that our new government appears to be downgrading the priority of this.

It’s clear that the government needs to be strong on the economy post Brexit vote, but this does not mean climate change policies must lag. The two are not mutually exclusive. We can’t afford to overlook climate change impacts, which will also cost business greatly, as our planet suffers.

Whatever your positon on Brexit – environmental issues like climate change are global. They transcend our small island and what we need is consensus on this and strong leadership to take real action.



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About the author:

Simone is an environmental law specialist and is head of LexisPSL Environment.

Simone moved to LexisNexis from Clyde & Co where she trained. Whilst at Clyde & Co Simone gained experience in contentious work, including large scale arbitrations, private claims and regulatory breaches, and a variety of non-contentious issues. Some of her experience includes the EU Emissions Trading System, the domestic Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme, environmental due diligence, Energy Performance Certificates, permitting requirements and contaminated land.

Simone has written a number of articles, which have been published in various journals and is a trustee of the United Kingdom Environmental Law Association (UKELA).