United Kingdom’s Climate Change Department Closed By Prime Minister Theresa May

Theresa May, the current British Prime Minister, decided to close the U.K.’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), as one of her first actions in office in order to merge it with the Department of Business and Industrial Strategy.

The person chosen by Theresa May to head the new combined Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, was former Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Greg Clark.

Clark stated that he was interested in continuing research into climate change, despite concerns that the decision made by Theresa May might stop all work on the issue altogether.

“I am thrilled to have been appointed [by Theresa May] to lead this new department charged with delivering a comprehensive industrial strategy, leading Government’s relationship with business, furthering our world-class science base, delivering affordable, clean energy and tackling climate change,” Clark said in a statement issued to the BBC.

British politicians are incredibly polarized on whether or not the abolition of the DECC shows a lack of interest in climate change from Prime Minister Theresa May.

On one side of the argument, many of the politicians that are against the action taken by Theresa May have stated that it shows proof that the new Prime Minister will be forgetting about climate change and putting it on the back burner.

Chris Huhne, a former Liberal Democrat DECC head, explained his disagreement with Prime Minister May to the Guardian.

“It is a big problem to have only one department charged with any environmental objectives – Defra. At a stroke, the number of cabinet voices with a departmental remit for the environment and climate change has been halved. It is a serious downgrading of British capability in the area, and it sadly fits with a shift to the right in government where Euroscepticism often goes hand in hand with climate skepticism.”

uk office of climate change closed by theresa may
Climate change office closed by new PM Theresa May [Photo by Thinkstock]

“This is a major setback for the U.K.’s climate change efforts. Greg Clark may be nice and he may even be green, but by downgrading the Whitehall status of climate change, Theresa May has hit low carbon investor confidence yet again,” Ed Davey, a former Liberal Democrat secretary of state, also told the Guardian.

“This is shocking news. Less than a day into the job and it appears that [Prime Minister Theresa May] has already downgraded action to tackle climate change, one of the biggest threats we face,” the CEO of Friends of the Earth, Craig Bennett added to the discussion with the publication.

Not everyone affected by the climate change department decision by Theresa May disagrees with her, however.

“Rather than bemoaning the demise of DECC, we should embrace the creation of BEIS,” Lord Stern, a climate change economist, agreed with Prime Minister Theresa May, according to the Guardian. “DECC has always been regarded as something of a minnow in departmental terms. By merging with BIS, energy and climate change issues can be elevated to a much higher level politically.”

“The new Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy can be a real powerhouse for change, joining up Whitehall teams to progress the resilient, sustainable, and low carbon infrastructure that we urgently need,” Chief Executive of WWF-UK, David Nussbaum, told the BBC.

uk pm theresa may closes climate change department
Power plant with pollution [Photo by iStock]

The director of the Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF) also agreed with the decision made by Prime Minister Theresa May, according to the British-based publication.

“Moving energy policy to the new Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy should give ministers a fresh impetus to ensure that the costs for consumers and businesses are driven down, not pushed further up.”

Climate change isn’t the only part of the U.K. that Theresa May has decided to change up. According to CBS, within the past week, Prime Minister May has changed several departments, getting rid of many of her predecessor’s loyalists.

[Photo by Andrew Parsons/Getty Images Pool]