Climate Change

Theresa May: what is her stance on the environment?

With a new Prime Minister in office, the second in this Tory Government, it is perhaps time to take a look at Theresa May’s views regarding one of the most important issues in the world – the environment.

It has already been noted by New Scientist that May tends to implement laws (on at least two occasions), that are “scientifically impossible”.

But how does she stand on matters of climate change, renewable energy and recycling?

According to some, little is actually known about her personal opinion on energy and climate change, and according to EnergyDesk:

May has been largely silent on the issue of climate change since becoming an MP.

Meanwhile, her voting record on the environment while in government mirrors that of her party.”

It’s also worth noting that on Sunday, May said that she wants “to see an energy policy that emphasises the reliability of supply and lower costs for users.”

Which doesn’t really say much, but given that the Tory government has cut back on both solar and wind farm subsidies, the outlook doesn’t look entirely agreeable for those in the renewable energy sector.

But Carbon Brief, an environmental news site, has uncovered this interesting quote in regards to the Climate Change Act 2008:

I am thrilled to see that after years of Conservative pressure, we have finally passed a necessary and ambitious piece of legislation on Climate Change. Britain is the first country in the world to formally bind itself to cut greenhouse emissions and I strongly believe this will improve our national and economic security. To stay reliant on fossil fuels would mean tying ourselves to increasingly unstable supplies which could endanger our energy security and the Climate Change and Energy Bills mark an important step for both the health of our economy and the health of our nation. It is now vital that we stick to these targets. I will continue to put pressure on the Government over the third runway at Heathrow as an extra 222,000 flights a year would undermine our national targets and seriously damage the health of the local community.”

In May 2006, she was also quoted saying, “I welcome that the Government has responded to cross-party pressure to make it easier for homes in Maidenhead and across the country to install renewable energy like solar panels or mini-wind turbines.”

That is of course, despite the current subsidy cuts to both solar and wind energy.

In regards to her voting record in relation to climate change, it is as follows:

  • Jun 9 2008 – Absent for second reading of Climate Change Bill
  • October 28 2008 – Voted in favour of the Climate Change Bill on its third reading
  • June 11 2012 – Absent for vote on Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill on its declined second reading
  • October 17 2012 – Absent for vote on Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill on a new clause and Duty to Support Climate Change Act Targets
  • October 17 2012 – Absent for vote on Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill on its third reading
  • December 18 2012 – Absent for vote on the Energy Bill during its declined second reading
  • June 3 2013 – Voted against the exemption of electricity generation plants using carbon capture and storage technology from annual carbon dioxide emissions limits
  • June 4 2013 – Voted against the setting of a target range for the amount of carbon dioxide produced per unit of electricity generated
  • December 4 2013 – Absent for vote on Energy Bill – Enabling Carbon Dioxide Emissions Limits to be Applied to Stations Which Fit Pollution Abatement Equipment
  • July 14 2015 – Voted in favour of the summer 2015 budget
  • July 14 2015 – Voted in favour of applying tax on non-domestic electricity supplies known as the climate change levy to electricity generated from renewable sources.
  • September 8 2015 – Voted in favour of applying the Climate Change Levy Tax to electricity from renewable sources.
  • October 26 2015 – Voted against charging first year rate of vehicle tax (this varies based on carbon dioxide emissions), for the subsequent to years against a rate of tax based on emissions for vehicles registered on or after April 1 2017.
  • March 14 2016 – Voted against requiring a strategy for carbon capture and storage for the energy industry
  • March 14 2016 – Voted against setting a decarbonisation target for the UK within six months and to renew it annually thereafter.
  • May 3 2016 – Absent for vote on Housing and Planning Bill­ with a new clause permitting a carbon dioxide emission rate for new homes.

*Image of Theresa May courtesy of Policy Exchange.

Andy has worked as a freelance journalist for a number of years and has been published in some of the UK’s top newspapers. He is now the editor Commercial Waste Magazine and contributes to a large selection of headlines and blog articles on the site.

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