Brexit is threatening the UK’s ability to tackle the climate crisis because of its hemorrhaging of EU workers, according to Scotland’s leading climate group.
Net Zero secretary Michael Matheson said at Cop26 that the UK’s ability to access the best talent in order to prevent a climate catastrophe is being hampered by its exit from the European Union.
Matheson said that in sectors like renewable energy, Britain needs the skills to create and maintain special technologies.
He said: “An issue across the whole of the UK and Ireland that we need to understand is that Brexit is having an impact that could start to compromise our ability to move at the pace we need to in order to tackle climate change.
“I’ve heard over and over again here at this summit about the need for pace and that this is a decisive decade; we heard it from the World Leaders Summit last week as well.
“Key to that is not just the deployment of technology, it’s also having the skills to manufacture, install and maintain that technology.
“We need to start to recognise that limited access to the right labour markets could compromise our ability to move at the pace at which we need to tackle climate change.”
The issue of post-Brexit labour is not the only issue the UK is facing when it comes to making a genuine difference to the climate emergency.
UK accused of spinning carbon statistics
Last month, Greta Thunberg accused the UK government of spinning carbon emissions statistics to make it look like the country’s contribution to the climate crisis is lower than it is in reality.
She said: “Between 1990 and 2016, the UK lowered its territorial emissions by 41 per cent. However, once you include the full scale of the UK emissions – such as consumption of imported goods, international aviation and shipping etc – the reduction is more like 15 per cent.
“And this is excluding burning of biomass, like at Drax’s Selby plant – a heavily subsidised so-called ‘renewable’ power plant that is, according to analysis, the UK’s biggest single emitter of CO2 and the third biggest in all of Europe. And yet the government still considers the UK to be a global climate leader.
“The UK is, of course, far from the only country relying on such creative carbon accounting. This is the norm.
“China, currently by far the world’s biggest emitter of CO2, is planning to build 43 new coal power plants on top of the 1,000 plants already in operation – while also claiming to be an ecological ‘trailblazer’ committed to leaving “a clean and beautiful world to future generations.”
The teenager has previously mocked prime minister Boris Johnson by quoting parts of his speeches on climate change and adding “blah, blah, blah”.
Giving a speech at the Youth4Climate summit in Milan, Italy, the Swedish activist said the words of “our so-called leaders” had led to “no action”.