A no-deal will have serious implications in all sectors, but, specifically on the environment, it should be of huge concern.
Greener UK, the coalition of environmental groups, published a report in July setting out how a no-deal would affect the environment, food security and pollution, and their analysis on climate change was stark: “Leaving the EU without a deal would make it harder for the UK to meet its emissions reduction targets in the long term, increase energy bills for consumers and undermine investment in critical energy infrastructure,” the report said.
A no-deal Brexit would mean the UK cutting loose from the European Court of Justice and, in turn, ending participation in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. Greener UK says this would cause “significant disruption to business and a loss of more than £530 million in auction revenues for the UK government”. A no-deal could lead to a drop in the carbon price, because operators will sell allowances as March 2019 nears, the report said, and a sudden departure from the ETS would “disrupt action to meet the UK’s domestic carbon target, potentially undermining domestic ambition on climate change”.
It would also see the UK leaving the internal energy market, meaning consumer energy bills would increase due to charges added to cross-border electricity trading.
Even if the negotiations result in a deal, there are still ramifications. The Greener UK report cites research by National Grid that leaving the internal energy market could cost the UK £500m – even if there were a deal on Brexit. With the detail of a Brexit deal still to be hammered out, it is unclear whether the UK will stay in the ETS. But departure from the ECJ, a totemic demand of Brexiteers, will see the creation of a new environmental watchdog, which, say campaigners, will weaken enforcement on meeting climate change targets.
If we're going to limit global warming to less than 2C, Australia will need to keep more than 90% of its coal reserves in the ground.