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article imageOp-Ed: UK's Brexit vote will undermine environmental regulations

By Karen Graham     Jun 25, 2016 in Environment
Reverberations from the Brexit vote continue to be felt in just about every aspect of life in the UK, EU and for that matter, around the world. But the environment was low on the list of priorities for voters in their decision to leave the EU.
Surprisingly, many voters thought they were voting against immigration and European Union regulations, but there won't be any change in these policies for at least the next two years, according to Time. And the world will continue to wring its hands wondering what will happen next.
The biggest immediate impact of the Brexit vote was seen in the crash of global financial markets. Yes, this does affect the environment because it takes huge investments to create cleaner and greener technologies, and according to some British economists, the Brexit vote has put a dent in the fast-growing green economy. How big a dent is yet to be seen.
European Union rules have led to a decrease in pollution and carbon emissions and to an increase in biodiversity, a report from the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) says. It would be criminal to get rid of these regulations, and doing so would be to the detriment of any gains made on decreasing pollution, lowered greenhouse gas emissions and most importantly, cleaner air.
Most of the environmental and climate regulations would remain on the books because the rules have been implemented into national legislation, says DW.com. Of course, they could be thrown out if the UK wishes to do so, but there again, it does depend on the relationship UK has with the EU in the long run. It is no surprise that environmentalists are running scared, saying the environmental laws will be on the chopping block.
Sam Lowe of the green group, Friends of the Earth UK says, “Given the narrative of Brexit, and the policy positions of our current government, we think that with the vote by the UK to leave the EU, our environmental protections would be weakened.”
And Lowe may have a good reason to be worried. Before joining the EU, the United Kingdom was known as "the dirty man of Europe" due to its high emission levels of sulfur dioxide and its sewage-infested waters. These two issues and more have led to great improvements on the environmental front, despite the UK government pushing against many of the regulations in Brussels over the years.
The Brexit vote will end up crushing any gains made in lowered carbon emissions and pesticide usage, as well as pollution limits set by the EU. And it is a real possibility that they will be scrapped because Ukip’s Nigel Farage, the politician who pushed the hardest for leaving the EU, doesn't think climate change is a problem and wants to do away with pollution limits on the UK's power stations.
The young electorate in the UK are the ones who voted to remain in the EU. They and their children, and future generations will be the ones to suffer if the UK scraps the environmental regulations the European Union put into place. The United Kingdom has done a great disservice to its future generations, and doesn't even realize the impact this will have,
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
More about brexit vote, Environment, Climate change, European union, Regulations
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