Britain should seek to fill the leadership void created by Donald Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the landmark Paris Agreement, Climate Change Minister Claire Perry said Monday.
While Prime Minister Theresa May has been criticized by some environmental groups for failing to speak out over the U.S. president’s June 1 decision to step back from the 2015 Paris deal, Perry said U.K. ministers “haven’t missed an opportunity” to express their disappointment over the news.
Perry said that as well as head of state discussions, she has also been having talks with “other players” in the U.S. who are seeking to ensure the U.S. delivers on its carbon reduction commitments. Last week the mayor of Houston visited the U.K. and discussed climate opportunities, she said.
“The U.K. is ranked third in the world in tackling climate change. I think we need to exploit and take that leadership position because we can change the world doing this and we can also generate highly productive jobs,” she said while visiting a green housing project at Nottingham University, in the East Midlands of England.
Perry’s department on Monday unveiled policies designed to make it easier for homeowners to install battery systems that can store renewable energy created by solar panels or wind turbines. That includes updating a 28-year-old Electricity Act that doesn’t recognize batteries as part of the power system.
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Perry said the U.K.’s green economy already employs about 400,000 people and could provide a source of growth through research and exports for certain technologies as the country quits the European Union.
“I look at this and see it’s the way the world is going, so it’s not just about British businesses, it’s about global mega-trends, so how do we seize that opportunity to decarbonize our own economy and help other countries,” she said.