The newly appointed UK prime minister Theresa May has sent a clear signal regarding her government’s attitude to climate change issues by deciding to scrap the DECC (the Department of Energy & Climate Change) and establish a Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Department. Climate Change functions wiill be subsumed in the new department.

The Department of Energy has been tossed around like a hot potato among various other ministries ever since it was established in 1974, so no change there, but climate change is a different matter. Environmentalists have raised concerns that the term 'climate change' is no longer included in the name of any department.

Commenting on the announcement, Juliet Davenport, chief executive of renewable energy company Good Energy, said: "In some ways, the name above the door of the civil service department doesn't matter. But now the government needs to prove that climate change isn't slipping down the agenda. I want to see concrete action to transform our energy system and clear policies for meeting the UK's decarbonisation commitments."

Greenpeace executive director, John Sauven, commented: “The energy and climate change department has been broken up and put back together without the name ‘climate change’. Although some might say ‘what’s in a name’, there is a very real worry that the progress made on tackling climate change could be relegated to the bottom of the in-tray. Business, energy and industrial strategy must have green innovation and job creation at its heart.”

On general cabinet appointments, particularly the appointment of Boris Johnson (Foreign secretary), David Davies (Brexit minister) and Liam Fox (International Trade), Greenpeace expressed ‘potential concern’ given their voting record and links to climate-sceptic think tanks and funders. John Sauven said:  “The voting record and affiliation with climate sceptics of key cabinet appointees are deeply worrying. They show a lack of understanding posed by climate change to the UK and the world. If we are to continue to have a key global role in environmental action, we need urgent reassurance from the new government that the hard won progress on climate and renewables targets, air pollution and the protection of wildlife will not be sidelined or abandoned in the Brexit negotiations.”