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Published: 14/07/2016

Abolition of DECC

The abolition of the Department of Energy and Climate Change has been condemned by former ministers as a major setback to British efforts to combat global warming.

One of Theresa May’s first acts as Prime Minister was to move responsibility for climate change to a new Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

This comes on the back of the brilliant news last month that the vast hole in the ozone layer above Antartica appears to be closing at long last. This has been achieved with Worldwide collaboration and the phasing out of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) chemicals which proves that action can influence climate change.

 

Stephen Devlin, an environmental economist at the New Economics Foundation (NEF), said the department’s abolition was “a terrible move by our new Prime Minister”.

He said it appeared to signal “a troubling de-prioritisation of climate change by this government”.

“Tackling climate change is an era-defining challenge that must direct and determine what industries we develop, what transport infrastructure we construct, how we manage our land and what our diets look like. It requires a central co-ordinated strategy; if we leave it to the afterthoughts of other departments we will fail,” he said.

“This reshuffle risks dropping climate change from the policy agenda altogether – a staggering act of negligence for which we will all pay the price.”

He called on Ms May to reaffirm the Government’s commitment to the 2008 Climate Change Act, which he described as a “world-leading piece of legislation”.

This commits the UK to an 80 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and is “one of few remaining silver linings in UK environmental policy”, Mr Devlin said.

A letter by DECC’s permanent secretary, Alex Chisholm, to staff in his department, which was leaked to Civil Service World, confirmed that its responsibilities were being transferred to the new Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, under its new Secretary, Greg Clark.