We’ve had the big UK vote but the ‘fun’ is only just starting. Some well-publicised EU-driven policies are now on short notice. A more credible energy policy seems a possibility.
When British voters chose to leave the European Union Thursday night, they weren’t just voting against Brussels’ immigration policies, they were also voting against Europe’s growing list of green mandates.
The EU’s allowance of millions of refugees and open borders policy did play a large role in the “Brexit” vote, but it was also a repudiation of global warming policies Brussels has imposed on the U.K.
“The decision by the British people to leave the European Union will have significant and long-term implications for energy and climate policies,” Dr. Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Forum, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Conservative pollster Lord Michael Ashcroft surveyed 12,369 Brits voting in Thursday’s referendum and found 69 percent of those who voted to leave the EU saw the “green movement” as a “force for ill.” “By large majorities, voters who saw multiculturalism, feminism, the Green movement, globalisation and immigration as forces for good voted to remain in the EU; those who saw them as a force for ill voted by even larger majorities to leave,” Ashcroft wrote.
Britons have been struggling under high energy prices for years, in part due to rules passed down from EU bureaucrats. Environmentalists opposed leaving the EU for precisely this reason. The Brexit vote signals the U.K. is lurching right, and will likely reject heavy-handed climate policies.
“It is highly unlikely that the party-political green consensus that has existed in Parliament for the last 10 years will survive the seismic changes that are now unfolding after Britain’s Independence Day,” Peiser said.
Prime Minister David Cameron announced his resignation after the vote, since he supported the staying in the EU. Cameron was one of the main forces behind the so-called “green consensus” in Parliament, which supported green energy subsidies and energy taxes to pay for them.
“The British people have voted to leave the European Union and their will must be respected,” Cameron said Friday. “The will of the British people is an instruction that must be delivered.”
Cameron’s government did begin to cut back subsidies for solar panels and push for hydraulic fracturing. Conservative Party lawmakers voted against more handouts for wind power as well as to bring down the costs of electricity. Green taxes cost U.K. residents $6.6 billion every year.Brits also paid some of the highest energy costs in Europe, thanks in part to green taxes added to their electricity bills.
The man that may take Cameron’s place is not committed to keeping the U.K.’s “green” image. Ex-London Mayor Boris Johnson, who was the face of the Brexit movement, could take Cameron’s place as prime minister in the coming months. Johnson is a global warming skeptic, and even criticized alarmist claims that human emissions caused England’s unseasonably warm winter.
“It is fantastic news that the world has agreed to cut pollution and help people save money, but I am sure that those global leaders were driven by a primitive fear that the present ambient warm weather is somehow caused by humanity; and that fear – as far as I understand the science – is equally without foundation,” he wrote in December. “There may be all kinds of reasons why I was sweating at ping-pong – but they don’t include global warming,” he wrote.
Johnson is unlikely to revive the “green consensus” in Parliament. That doesn’t mean Johnson won’t keep in place some EU environmental rules, but the regulatory regime will probably be less onerous than the one Brussels had in mind. “But perhaps the most important aspect of the EU referendum has been the astonishing self-determination and scepticism of the British people in face of an unprecedented fear campaign,” Peiser said.