Brexit And Climate Change: Global Warming, The Refugee Crisis, And An Uncertain Future

Anya Wassenberg

Was Brexit -- or the recent British vote to leave the European Union -- caused by climate change? Global warming, the refugee crisis, and Brexit are linked in several ways and uncertainty continues to mount in the aftermath of the U.K.'s historic decision.

As pointed out in a story in the Christian Science Monitor, Europe's policies on climate are thrown into doubt by the Brexit vote. Just six months ago, the E.U. agreed on carbon-reduction goals as a block in the historic Paris climate treaty. Will that treaty continue to be valid – and for whom – and how will Great Britain and the rest of Europe separate their policies and then negotiate climate change matters in the future? Many questions remain unanswered.

The clock doesn't actually begin to tick on Brexit until Britain invokes Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty that created the European Union, and the U.K. hasn't done so as of yet. That means that Brexit – and the uncertainty – could drag on for much longer.

"The UK's role in dealing with a warming planet may have been made harder by the decision last Thursday. However we choose to leave the EU, let me be clear: we remain committed to dealing with climate change."
"I know it's an additional reason beyond all the wars and civil unrest. I know we have so many deniers in the United States. But you can't deny the obvious."

Climate change knows no borders and requires a global effort to combat; events like the Brexit vote put that level of international cooperation to the test.

[Image by Christo Mitkov Christov/Shutterstock]