Business giants urge UK, EU to continue energy and climate cooperation after Brexit

A top-level business alliance has called on UK and EU leaders to ensure Brexit includes a comprehensive Climate and Energy Chapter, amid worries about the UK's commitment to international climate policies after the country leaves the European Union.

“The continued implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change is essential to provide clear, long-term and stable signals to guide business investment in low carbon infrastructure,” says the letter, dated 4 September.

The missive, signed by CEOs from ten leading energy companies and trade associations, will be sent to European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker and UK Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday (4 September).

Signatories include Unilever, the British-Dutch consumer goods multinational, and French energy giants EDF and Engie, as well as trade associations Energy UK, Renewable-UK and WindEurope.

“It will be important for the EU27 and the UK to demonstrate international leadership by cooperating in exploring long-term emission targets,” the letter adds, citing “net-zero GHG emissions targets as a vital element of the Paris Agreement”.

“We would welcome further guidance on how this could be achieved at the 24th Conference of Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, in December this year,” they write.

The UK government has so far refused to say whether it will stay committed to clean energy targets agreed at European level after Brexit. This includes an EU-wide commitment to generate 32% of its energy from renewable sources and slash energy consumption by 32.5% by 2030.

Businesses on both sides of the channel are growing increasingly worried about the prospect of a no-deal Brexit.

In April, the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC), which represents investors with over €21trn in assets, said a comprehensive Climate and Energy Chapter in the Brexit negotiations “would help to manage the considerable uncertainty within markets” that the Brexit referendum has brought.

Specifically, the business leaders ask for the energy and climate chapter to include:

  • Cooperation on implementation of Paris Agreement
  • No tariffs on energy trading
  • Maintaining high environmental standards
  • Preventing barriers to trade in low carbon goods
  • Strong diplomatic cooperation on climate change
  • Measures to avoid a low carbon investment hiatus
  • Keeping the UK in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme until end of Phase IV at least

Frédéric Simon,

This article first appeared on, an edie content partner

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