With Boris Johnson out, the next leader will need to put the country back on track to meet net zero by 2050
As the winds of political change sweep through Westminster, in the background global heating gathers pace.
His successor will inherit the reins at a time when the UK holds the United Nations COP presidency and prides itself on its global leadership on climate change.
But also when its own advisors have warned its current policies offer “scant evidence” that it will deliver on its climate targets at home.
Mr Johnson said he will stay on until a new leader is in place and is filling in the gaps in his cabinet.
Whether it is the interim cabinet or the new leader’s top team, a series of pressing climate and energy policy decisions await that will have an enormous impact on Britain’s climate record.
Here’s the most pressing climate decisions they will face:
A new coal mine?
The new Secretary of State for Levelling Up, 住房和社区, Greg Clark, will have to decide whether to greenlight a new coal mine in Cumbria.
If the coal mine, near Whitehaven, gets the go ahead from the government it will be the first new deep coal mine since the 1980s and will extract coking coal from beneath the Irish Sea, 85 per cent of which will be exported.
The chairman of the independent Climate Change Committee, Lord Deben, last week said that building a new coal mine in Cumbria would be “totally wrong”.
To frack or not to frack?
同时, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng will soon have to decide whether to lift a 2019 moratorium on fracking.
本周早些时候, geologists filed a report to the government on the latest scientific evidence around shale gas extraction.
在四月份, Mr Kwarteng asked the British Geological Survey to review the evidence and report back by June “on the geological science of shale gas fracking and the modelling of seismic activity in shale rocks in the UK”.
他说 the moratorium on fracking would remain unless it was shown to be “safe, sustainable and of minimal disturbance to those living and working nearby”.
Tax breaks for investment in fossil fuel extraction
本星期, the energy profits levy bill – the legislation needed to bring into effect the windfall tax on the profits of oil and gas companies announced by former chancellor Rishi Sunak in May – was introduced in parliament.
While the tax was broadly welcomed, it came hand-in-hand with tax relief on investment in oil and gas extraction 在英国.
The latter was slammed by climate groups and opposition politicians who pointed out that the United Nations and the International Energy Agency have made it clear that the world needs to stop new investment in fossil fuels.
The new leader will have to decide whether to press on with the controversial policy.
上个星期, a damning new report by the government’s own advisers found that it is failing to deliver policies to decarbonise the UK’s economy at the scale and pace needed to meet its crucial net zero target.
The Climate Change Committee highlighted the “shocking” policy gap on how to help people insulate their homes.
The UK has the least energy efficient housing stock in Europe, and installations of insulation remain at rock bottom, according to the committee.
This drives up the cost of energy bills at a time when they are already eye-wateringly high thanks to higher demand as economies emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The new prime minister will need to change tack and prioritise energy efficiency.