Yesterday’s general election in the UK has resulted in a hung parliament with the ruling Conservative party failing to reach a majority by eight seats. However, Prime Minister Theresa May is to form a minority government with the aid of the largest Northern Ireland party which has won 10 seats. The second largest party in Northern Ireland won seven seats but due to ideological differences has never sent its elected representatives to Westminster.
The result is not likely to reverse the Brexit process as the second largest party is also committed to withdrawal from the EU although not with the same degree of conviction. Exactly how further events will play out remains to be seen. Some EU member states are concerned that once outside of the EU, the UK could be tempted to reduce its commitment to environmental issues.
When the US announced its intended withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord at the beginning of the month. The UK’s signature was absent from the joint statement signed by Germany, France and Italy regretting the decision although it later transpired that Mrs May had telephoned the US President expressing her ‘disappointment’.
Up to now, the UK government has not signalled its intentions as regards future shipping regulation once the withdrawal process from the EU is complete although some hint may come at next months delayed MEPC meeting.
There have also been indications that the EU and China may increase co-operation but critics point to the fact that China has been given a free rein to increase CO2 emissions until 2030 and its much discussed One Belt One Road policy includes commitment to coal-fired power stations in many of the Asian countries included in the project. So far China has been involved in 240 coal-fired power projects in 25 of the 65 Belt and Road countries.