The environmental consequences of Brexit

The United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union can affect CO2 emissions

Brexit, environmental consequences 

Leer en Español: Las consecuencias ambientales del Brexit

The withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union may be considered as one of the most important news in economics and politics. Businessmen and politicians are afraid of the consequences of Brexit. However, environmental groups are also concerned of the environmental implications if the Britain and the rest of Europe don’t achieve a successful negotiation.

Since 2005, the European Union members created a market of CO2 production. The European Union Emissions Trading System (ETS) controls the carbon dioxide production of companies. Every industry has to pay for each CO2 ton they produce so there is a limit, thus controlling and reducing the greenhouse gases emission.

The ETS seeks to reduce CO2 production by 21% in 2020 and 43% in 2030.

Jos Delbeke, Director General of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Climate Action, stated that "the CM can play a key role in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions cost-effectively”. If the United Kingdom and the European Union don’t achieve a new deal in every topic they are negotiating, there is a possibility of a "hard Brexit" cancelling every pact between both sides.

Eurostat: the United Kingdom (11,7%) is the second biggest greenhouse gases producer in the European Union, just behind Germany (22,9%).

If a "hard Brexit" happens, 220 millions of British companies’ CO2 permission waivers will arrive into the European market; there will be an overstock of permits and it will discourage organizations from creating new technologies that can reduce greenhouse gases.

It will also affect British emissions. If the United Kingdom leaves the ETS, its companies wouldn't have any limit or restriction when it came to CO2 emissions. According to Eurostat, the UK (11,7%) is the second biggest greenhouse gases producer in the European Union, just behind Germany (22,9%). 

However, according to the European Commission, this organization "presented a draft regulation amending to the EU ETS Registry Regulation to the Climate Change Committee, in order to ensure the environmental integrity of the EU ETS". This mean that the European Parliament and the Council created a new clause that will annulated any British permit by January 2018 if the United Kingdom leaves all their pacts”.

The Emission Trading System creates maximum limits and allowances trade.

The European Union Emission Trading System covers around 45% of every CO2 coming from human production. According to the European Commission, the ETS controls the emission of "11.000 high consumption of Energy companies and airlines”. But it also hands out free emissions limits to certain industries to avoid losing competitiveness. It works like a market (cap and trade), so some companies that have a low CO2 emission, can negotiate their "coupons” with any other industry.

The Emission Trading System seeks to reduce the CO2 production by 21% in 2020 and 43% by 2030. It operates in 31 European countries, the 28 European Union members plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway.

 

Latin American Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández

Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto

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