Brexit no-deal 'threatens' European climate action

EUROPE: Any Brexit deal between the EU and the UK should contain a Climate and Energy Chapter, as settling for a "more conventional" free trade agreement would risk undermining efforts to implement the COP21 deal, business groups have warned.

A number of interconnectors planned for between the UK and Europe could be affected by a no-deal Brexit (pic: Ofgem)
A number of interconnectors planned for between the UK and Europe could be affected by a no-deal Brexit (pic: Ofgem)

Article first published on Ends Europe

"The continued implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change is essential to provide clear, long-term and stable signals to guide business investment in low carbon infrastructure," the group, including trade body WindEurope, wrote in a letter to UK prime minister Theresa May and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.

With the deadline for Britain's exit from the EU just months away, cosmetics group Unilever, French energy firm EDF, and trade bodies WindEurope and RenewableUK were among those calling for the UK and EU to recognise their mutual interest in coordinating policy on climate change mitigation and energy supply.

"Such a balance of interests is only possible if the Chapter addresses issues such as cooperation on emission targets, clean energy projects of common interest, climate and energy diplomacy and carbon pricing, which it would not be possible to address adequately in a 'more conventional EU' free trade agreement," they wrote, noting that the recent trade deal with Canada does not cover energy.

The UK has signalled its intention to remain within the EU emissions trading system (ETS) at least for a transitional period, but Brexit raises question over a raft of issues, such as access to Europe's internal energy market and Britain's increasing reliance on electricity imports to ensure security of supply.

The letter warns that imposing tariffs on cross-border energy transactions could inhibit the uptake of renewable energy sources.

"Interconnection will play an important role in helping to balance energy flows as an increasing proportion of intermittent renewable energy is brought onto electricity grids," they wrote.

May and Juncker were also urged to ensure that environmental standards on products, vehicles, industrial emissions, and sustainable finance remained as currently agreed within the EU.

"UK businesses need clarity that the UK Government will not lower standards in future (non-EU) trade deals that would allow international competitors with lower standards to undercut them," the group wrote.

Article first published on Ends Europe

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