New British PM Deals Huge Blow To The Fight Against Climate Change

One of Theresa May's first acts as the new prime minister has already caused outrage among environmental advocates, and rightly so.

Theresa May’s motion to abolish the climate change department, just two days into the job, has been labeled as “plain stupid,” “backwards” and “deeply worrying” by environmental advocates and politicians.

The United Kingdom’s newly chosen prime minister merged the functions of the Department of Energy and Climate Change into the new Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Department, which will be managed by former Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Greg Clark.


The decision came after May appointed former energy minister Andrea Leadsom — whose record does not show environmental-friendly agendas — to the position of environment secretary.

This puts Leadsom directly in charge of the fox hunting ban, something she has fought against during her campaign for the Tory leadership.

Andrea Leadsom

“I would absolutely commit to holding a vote to repeal the hunting ban,” Leadsom previously said. “It has not proven to be in the interests of animal welfare whatsoever,” and called for the “need to exterminate vermin, which foxes are.”  

Leadsom is also accused of backing a government plan in 2011 to sell off 258,000 hectares of forests that purportedly would have fetched an estimated 100 million pounds ($132.3 million), before they were forced to backtrack on the policy. In July 2015, Leadsom supported applying the climate change levy on energy created from renewable resources.


The new environmental secretary has also admitted being confused about the existence of climate change, after she was appointed the minister of the energy department in 2015.

“When I first came to this job one of my two questions was: ‘Is climate change real?’ and the other was, ‘Is hydraulic fracturing safe?’ And on both of those questions, I am now completely persuaded,” she told the all-party parliamentary group in October 2015.

Despite the assurances, members of the Green Party are still not convinced.

“By appointing Andrea Leadsom — a woman who supports foxhunting and has consistently voted against measures to tackle climate change  as environment secretary, and scrapping the Department for Energy and Climate Change entirely, May appears to be sending a clear message that fighting climate change is simply not on her agenda,” said Green Party spokesman, Andrew Cooper.

Former Green Party leader Caroline Lucas described the motion to eradicate the climate change department as a “serious backward step.”


“Climate change is the biggest challenge we face, and it must not be an afterthought for the Government,” Lucas said. “Dealing with climate change requires a dedicated Minister at the Cabinet table. To throw it into the basement of another Whitehall department looks like a serious backwards step.”

Just this Monday, a government report warned for the need of urgent action to protect Britain from floods, heatwaves, water shortage and famine.

If these are the steps May has taken to combat global warming, then it’s apparent Leadsom isn’t the only one who doesn’t think climate change is a reality.

Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters, Kevin Coombs

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