Brexit and zero carbon energy policy

This project explores the consequences of Brexit for energy and climate policy and politics.

The United Kingdom has committed to reducing emissions to net zero by 2050, requiring fundamental  change in how energy is produced, managed and consumed.

UK energy policymakers must now make decarbonisation decisions within a new political context, being outside the European Union. This adds a further layer of complexity and uncertainty. Although the UK has left the EU, the medium- and longer-term relationship remains undefined with potential political, economic and trade implications.

This project, delivered jointly by Chatham House and the University of Warwick, seeks to unravel and explore the consequences of Brexit so that we can better understand what it means for energy and climate policies and politics. This is done across four main work packages:

  • Combine conceptual insights and academic theory from international political economy, climate change, and energy policy in order to frame Brexit and how it relates to zero carbon energy policy;
  • Map the immediate implications of de-integration from the EU for current UK energy policy, and for net zero energy policy based on documented analysis and stakeholder engagement;
  • Analyse how UK energy policy is being re-oriented, as a result of Brexit, in the medium term (2020-2022) in three strategic areas:
    - Carbon and emissions trading
    - Gas and electricity trade and interconnection between the UK and European markets
    - Demand management
  • Application of scenario planning methods to explore different longer-term trajectories (2023-2030) for the UK’s net zero energy policies, as the UK re-configures itself domestically and globally.

By understanding Brexit, and its implications across the different temporal stages, the project will highlight additional, relevant barriers and opportunities for the UK as it strives to fully decarbonise energy and what these mean for meeting zero carbon targets.