Energy & Environment

Environmental degradation is endangering our planet and threatens biodiversity around the world. This devastation is caused by the overproduction of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels, and methane from the agricultural industry, exacerbating the effects of climate change. The Energy and Environment Policy Centre will devote this academic year to exploring two key policy issues critical for the protection of Earth: the impact of the US abandoning the Paris Climate Change Agreement and the future of UK farming outside of the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

During the first semester, the Energy and Environment Policy Centre will concentrate on the impact of President Donald Trump’s administration leaving the Paris Climate Change Agreement. This accord is the most comprehensive climate change agreement ever completed; 195 countries have now signed it. Member countries have promised to ensure that global average temperatures do not exceed 2°C above pre-industrial levels and will be limited to 1.5°C. The USA promised to decrease its greenhouse emissions by 28% by 2025 however, this prospect is unlikely under the new White House regime. The Energy and Environment Policy Centre will focus on the effects of the decision taken by the Trump administration to leave the Paris Agreement and the impact on the global community’s efforts to combat climate change.

During the second semester we will focus on the UK’s future farming policies outside of the CAP. The CAP provides funding for 12 million farmers in Europe, including the UK (the UK received £2.4 billion in 2015). Due to Brexit, the UK is reformulating policy substitutes for the CAP. A key part of the CAP is farming subsidies, which reward landowners based on the size of their landholdings and environmentally-friendly practices. Once Brexit is completed, the UK government could improve these caveats through similar subsidies to ensure productivity, a fair living wage for agricultural labourers, and to increase the protection of the UK’s natural environment. As the UK Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Affairs maintains, this is “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reform how [the UK] cares for [its] land.”

The Energy and Environment Policy Centre aims to critically analyse the legacy of the Paris Agreement without the USA and propose solutions for UK agricultural policy. Anyone interested will be able to partake in these thrilling topics through events posted on our website and Facebook page. You also have the opportunity to write for us and have your ideas published.

The Energy and Environment Policy Centre team looks forward to your participation in the Think Tank and ensure we can make the world a better place. Do not hesitate to contact us at pcpresidents@kingsthinktank.org.

Emma-Jane Behrens
Energy and Environment Policy Centre President