General Election 2017: a climate perspective
The UK goes back to the polls again in June for another election (we just can’t enough of democracy!) so its worth considering what this means for climate adaptation and mitigation in the UK. Clearly at this point a huge amount is uncertain, but I think there are several implications:
- There can be no new policy announcements during purdah, which will start once Parliament dissolves on 3rd May, and there is a less than a month between it’s return after the election and the summer recess. This means more delays for the 25-year Plan for Nature and the Clean Growth Plan (key for outlining how the UK will meet its emissions targets) are likely, and uncertainty over the release of the Air Quality Plan. The Plan for Nature is important for adaptation in the UK as the document sets out the strategic framework for environmental management in the UK, and should work together with the 2018 National Adaptation Programme. Continued delays increase uncertainty on the contours of the UK’s post-Brexit environment and climate policies.
- An increased Conservative majority could be bad for UK spending on international adaptation. If, as reported this morning, the Conservative manifesto commits scrapping the target of spending 0.7% of GDP on overseas aid it would likely spell the end of many strong DFID programmes on adaptation, and hack away at the UK’s track record on climate change.
- An increased Conservative majority could actually be good for adaptation and mitigation in the UK. This might sound counter-intuitive, but a government less reliant on the ‘burn all environmental regulations’ wing of the Tory party would be a stronger position to commit to continued investment in renewables, and a strong place for adaptation as we re-write our environmental and planning legislation post-Brexit.
- A hung parliament or minority government would mean no-one would have a clue about anything. . .
The manifestos should make things a bit clearer, but in the meantime we carry on with our work internationally - both on private sector investments in climate resilience, and mainstreaming adaptation in multi-lateral development banks - and hope that when the dust settles the UK is a climate-friendly environment.
If you’re working on adaptation and want to build your professional capacity, join us in Oxford for the Adaptation Academy, 13th-25th August!