Tomorrow afternoon, Theresa May is set to replace David Cameron as the UK’s prime minister.
The home secretary and Conservative MP for Maidenhead will take charge of the country following a period of, at times, brutal political tumult since the UK voted to leave the European Union on 23 June. May was left as the only remaining candidate to lead the Conservative party – and hence become prime minister – after Andrea Leadsom, the energy minister, unexpectedly withdrew from the race yesterday.
To date, very little has been known about May’s personal policy stance on energy and climate change. Last week, EnergyDesk noted: “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.”
Yesterday, during a speech made just before Leadsom’s exit, May said: “I want to see an energy policy that emphasises the reliability of supply and lower costs for users.”
Climate Change Act 2008
However, Carbon Brief has uncovered a cached version of a statement published on May’s website back in December 2008, in which she was reacting to the passing into law of the Climate Change Act. Under the headline, “Friends of the Earth praise Theresa for her work on climate change”, May says:
Theresa May: “Govt could do far more to promote green energy, rather than giving unfair subsidies to new nuclear” https://t.co/7MHWlklA4J
— Leo Hickman (@LeoHickman) July 11, 2016
Using the same internet archive, Carbon Brief has also found an earlier statement published by May in July 2006. It carries particular pertinence now given the cutback of subsidies for solar power and the current travails of the proposed Hinkley C nuclear power plant. It says:
The River Thames forms the northern boundary of May’s Maidenhead constituency and the area has been struck by flooding, most notably, perhaps, in early 2014. It doesn’t appear, though, that May has ever explicitly raised the topic of climate change resilience when discussing how her constituency should better prepare itself for future flooding events. Instead, her focus to date seems to have been on dredging the river and ensuring better insurance cover.
Following the 2014 floods, May published a document (pdf) on her website, which says:
On the issue of insurance for victims of flooding, the document adds:
Earlier this year, an article in the Royal Borough Observer, a local newspaper, showed that May has continued to push on this issue:
Again, it is not known whether May brought up the issue of climate change in this meeting. Flood Re says (pdf) it was set up, in part, “as a result of increasingly volatile weather and a better understanding of flood risk”.
Main image: Theresa May joins Surrey County Council Leader David Hodge at Molesey Lock and Weir, in December 2014. Credit: Surrey County Council News via Flickr.
Carbon Brief has uncovered a cached version of a statement Theresa May made on climate change back in December 2008
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