Brexit: implications for climate change commitments

Briefing papers
September 2016

The UK’s decision to leave the EU has implications for climate change policy in the UK and EU, as for almost every other area of policy. It may be two or more years before the details of the UK’s new relationship with the EU are fully known but during this time, the global climate change agreement will continue to evolve in a number of areas.

The EU and its member states have committed internationally to take specific actions to address climate change and its effects, and to support developing countries in their efforts to do so too. This briefing outlines how the commitments necessary to ensure that the goals of the Paris Agreement can be met will be affected by the UK leaving the EU.

The briefing concludes that departure from the EU is unlikely to affect the UK or the EU’s international commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However, the UK will need to decide whether to implement the Paris Agreement jointly with the EU or as an individual party, and whether to remain within or outside the emissions trading system. The briefing also discusses the implications for international climate change negotiations, and makes recommendations for the UK and the EU to help ensure international climate change goals can be achieved.