Both China and the United States, the world’s biggest polluters when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, have now ratified the Paris Climate deal (COP21) and yet the UK still does not have a date for doing so. Theresa May was pushed on the matter by Green MP Caroline Lucas at PMQs this afternoon and whilst assurance was given that the agreement would be ratified, she was noticeably silent when it came to a timeline for doing so. Mrs May is playing a tough game when it comes to climate change politics and it is difficult to see what her cards really are. One of the Prime Minster’s first acts in office was to abolish the Ministry of Energy and Climate change and transfer climate change responsibility to a new department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Her voting record generally shows an attitude that is against climate change measures. For example, she was absent for the second reading of the Climate Change bill back in June 2008 and in March this year voted against setting a decarbonisation target for the UK within 6 months of June 2016 and to review it annually afterwards.
I still haven’t made my mind up about Mrs May but when it comes to climate change, she is trying my patience. Paris was (largely) a success, managing to get to a stage whereby a desired temperature increase was set at just 1.5 degrees celsius. It was also agreed to reach the peak of global emissions as soon as possible and to undertake rapid reduction thereafter. Whilst I do not believe that the May government will actively work against the agreement I am not overly optimistic that measures will be taken to act over and beyond expectations.