Greenpeace reacts to the appointment of Theresa May’s Cabinet and the demise of DECC

Publication date: 14th July 2016

The appointment of Theresa May’s top team brings uncertainty for the protection of our countryside and wildlife as well as the UK’s status as an international leader on tackling climate change according to Greenpeace analysis.

On the appointment of Boris Johnson, David Davies and Liam Fox, the environmental organisation expressed potential concern given their voting record and links to climate sceptic funders and think tanks. EnergyDesk analysis shows that David Davies has also taken funding from Michael Hintze and voted against the environmental agenda, voting against decarbonisation targets and in favour of cuts to subsidies for renewables.

Liam Fox has spoken out in favour of the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) claims it will not affect environmental standards. Fox has backed Heathrow expansion and has voted against decarbonisation targets, against variable taxes based on carbon emissions and against the development of a strategy for carbon capture and storage in the UK. Fox embroiled in scandals over funding, also took £10,000 in May from Alexander Temerko, prominent Tory donor and director of energy firm OGN, which builds oil rigs as well as £30,000 in the last year from the Keltbray Group, which has worked on infrastructure projects including Bradwell nuclear power station.

The analysis also shows Boris Johnson has taken donations from Michael Hintze, who also funds Nigel Lawson’s climate sceptic thinktank the Global Warming Policy Foundation. However, Boris Johnson does some favour for being an advocate for solar power.

John Sauven Greenpeace executive director said:

“The voting record and affiliation with climate sceptics of key cabinet appointees are deeply worrying. They show a lack of understanding posed by climate change to the UK and the world. If we are to continue to have a key global role in environmental action, we need urgent reassurance from the new government that the hard won progress on climate and renewables targets, air pollution and the protection of wildlife will not be sidelined or abandoned in the Brexit negotiations.”

The breakup of DECC will see the remit for climate change subsumed into the emergence of a new Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

 Welcoming the new minister, Greg Clarke, Greenpeace Executive Director, John Sauven, said:

“The energy and climate change change department has been broken up  and put back together without the name ‘climate change’. Although, some might say ‘what’s in a name’, there is a very real worry that the progress made on tackling climate change  could be relegated to the bottom of the intray. Business, energy and industrial strategy must have green innovation and job creation at its heart.”

Defra has a new Secretary of State, Andrea Leadsom. John Sauven, Greenpeace executive director said:

“Andrea Leadsom will be responsible for the safety of the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe. Her advisors at the late department of energy and climate change were able to persuade her that climate change was a real threat. We hope that she’ll be an equally fast learner when her new advisors give her the talk about the necessity of protecting our birds and the bees.”

Chris Graying as the new Transport Ministers raises questions over Heathrow expansion. He voted to rethink the 3rd runway in 2009, but was also apparently urging Cameron to reconsider his opposition to Heathrow expansion.

Greenpeace reaction to Philip Hammond’s appointment and interview this morning on the Today Programme, John Sauven Greenpeace executive director said:

“Philip Hammond could be a positive influence in this government, but he should break from George Osborne’s obsession with large scale, foreign investment in energy projects. Instead, he should champion investment for homegrown renewable energy enterprises and technological innovation. This would bring jobs, a boost to the economy and a revitalised manufacturing sector. But, Greenpeace was disappointed to hear that despite the National Audit Office’s revelation that Hinkley Point C power station will cost consumers £30 billion in subsidies, Philip Hammond today reiterated support for the project.”

The campaigning group is calling the new government to come clean on its commitment to combatting climate change, ensuring protection for the countryside, air and water quality and increasing investment for homegrown renewable energy businesses within the first 100 days of office.