Caroline Lucas: Leaving EU would be act of ‘environmental vandalism’

Anyone who cares about climate change should vote Remain, says Green Party MP


Caroline Lucas has used World Environment Day to argue that leaving the EU would be an act of ‘environmental vandalism’ which would ‘hurt young people the most’.

Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion and a prominent figure in left-wing Remain group Another Europe is Possible, is urging young people to register and vote with under three weeks left until the referendum.

She is one of a growing number of politicians targeting young people – just 47 per cent of whom say they’ll definitely vote – in the final strait of the referendum campaign.

In an article for Huffington Post, the Green Party leadership contender said: ‘This poll matters more to this country than any single general election ever will. For me the most compelling issue at the heart of this debate is around the protection of our environment.

‘The simple fact is that the EU has been essential for environmental protection.

Challenges like air pollution, sewage in the seas and threats to migrating species don’t queue up politely at national borders, waiting for their passports to be checked.

Indeed if we didn’t have the EU to bring together countries to work on these issues, then we’d have to invent it all over again.

She said that the EU was instrumental the the Paris climate talks and EU rules have closed some of Britain’s dirtiest power stations, adding:

‘Anyone who cares about this existential challenge really shouldn’t be considering anything else other than voting to remain, and persuading everyone they know to do the same.’

The call for young people to vote to stay in the EU on environmental grounds comes as an Opinium poll gave the Brexit campaign a lead in the increasingly tense last stretch of the referendum debate.

Lucas joins a string of political figures to highlight the environmental case for a Remain vote, with Jeremy Corbyn and Ed Miliband joining forces at the end of May to argue that remaining a member of the EU is ‘vital’ in the fight against climate change, and Environmental Audit Committee chair Mary Creagh writing for Left Foot Forward that ‘our environment needs the EU’.

Last Thursday, two of the largest environmental charities – the RSPB and WWF – united to call for a Remain vote on environmental grounds, saying:

‘In weighing up the current evidence, the uncertainties and the balance of risks, we have concluded that the safer option for nature is for the UK to remain a part of the European Union.’

However, a YouGov poll at the end of January showed that Britain is among the least concerned countries in the EU when it comes to climate change – and worryingly for the Remain side, is more worried about population growth.

The deadline to register to vote is the June 7. Registration takes five minutes and can be done online here.

Josiah Mortimer is a regular contributor to Left Foot Forward. You can follow him on Twitter @josiahmortimer

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