Briefing Paper

The Benefits of Europe for Energy and Climate Change - And What Could Happen If We Brexit

By ,

Europe at the helm
Photo Illustration: Bill Bragg

Membership of the EU offers substantial benefits on energy and climate change that a ‘leave’ vote would require the UK to forego, making the transition to a low carbon economy more expensive and less secure.

E3G and Green Alliance have developed a briefing which sets out the key evidence that exists on the energy and climate change benefits of the UK remaining part of the European Union and assesses the possible scenarios in the event of a ‘leave’ vote.

Key points:

  • The most likely ‘leave’ scenarios would substantially increase uncertainty for investors in energy projects, which, at best would result in increased risk premiums pushing up energy prices and, at worst, would lead to an investment hiatus that could threaten the UK’s energy security.
  • Being part of the EU energy market, including market coupling, cross border balancing and capacity market integration, is expected to be worth £500 million per year to the UK by the early 2020s.
  • A united EU can stand up to Russia’s use of international gas supply as a political tool. A divided Europe would allow Gazprom to continue its ‘divide and conquer’ strategy when negotiating gas contracts with EU Member States.
  • UK entrepreneurs developing new low carbon energy solutions need easy access to the EU, as largest and closest export market, to be competitive. For example, 53% of the output of the UK’s nascent ultra-low emissions vehicle market is exported to the EU.
  • Collective EU action on climate change gives all Member States the confidence to reduce emissions together, safe in the knowledge that their trading partners are doing the same. By agreeing collective targets and policy mechanisms, since 1990, the EU28 has reduced CO2e emissions by 23 per cent whilst growing GDP by 46 per cent.
  • The UK has had substantial influence over EU positions in international negotiations on climate change and leverages diplomatic impact by operating within the EU bloc.

Also available:

A summary of key points and answers to brexit arguments (PDF 215Kb)

The full report The Benefits of Europe for Energy and Climate Change And What Could Happen If We Brexit (PDF 800Kb)