Downgrading vital issue
When forming her new Government, Theresa May decided to effectively abolish the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
This is a major setback to British efforts to combat climate change. Its functions were transferred to a larger business department, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (DBEIS), led by Greg Clark.
In a statement, he appeared to allay concerns that climate change would be downgraded in his new role. Also he shadowed Ed Miliband, who was the first Secretary of State for DECC in the Blair Government, so he may have gained reasonable knowledge of environmental matters, but I doubt the same commitment. Climate is not even mentioned in the DBEIS title.
By downgrading the Whitehall status of climate change, Prime Minister Theresa May has hit low carbon investor confidence yet again. The number of voices in the Cabinet with departmental remit for climate change has been halved, with only DEFRA charged with environmental objectives. Of course it is DEFRA that has just sanctioned the extension of the controversial badger cull, hardly the action of a progressive government!
However, the Government is still bound by the Climate Change Act (2008), committing successive governments to cuts in greenhouse gas emissions through to 2050.
Nevertheless the abolition of DECC is a serious downgrading of British capability in the area of the environment, which sadly fits into a shift to the right in Government where Euroscepticism often goes hand in hand with climate change scepticism.
It seems to me that, regrettably, the new Prime Minister has already downgraded action to tackle climate change, which is one of the biggest threats that we face in the modern world.
I also feel it is another concession to the ‘Brexiteers’ in the Conservative Party and a blow to outward-looking Britain. The abolition of DECC means climate change and the environment will slip down the Government agenda, as there is no department on these issues that can formulate clear policy.
Susan Fox via email
I agree with call for CCTV
I strongly welcome the call for mandatory CCTV in our slaughterhouses, raised by Isobel Hutchinson from Animal Aid (WEP September 8).
The shocking statistic that nine out of ten randomly chosen UK slaughterhouses were breaking animal welfare laws is more than enough reason to introduce these cameras.
I have no doubt that even on the rare occasions when animal welfare laws are not breached, the footage from these cameras will be 10 times worse than any extreme horror movie.
But at least we will then know the industry is working towards a goal where animals are treated with something close to dignity before their slaughter.
And the driving force behind that would be criminal prosecutions against those who continue to flout animal welfare laws.
I also believe the CCTV footage from slaughterhouses – including those that carry out killings to meet halal and kosher criteria – should be made public.
Then I think we may have a lot more vegetarians on our hands which is, of course, why the farming industry will do all it can to stop that footage being made public.
Meat eaters, myself included, need to stop burying our heads in the sand and instead question what goes on behind these closed doors.