Andrea Leadsom’s responsibilities for climate change have been thrown into confusion after a Government department suggested she had been stripped of her sole role in combating global warming.
The Cabinet Office on Tuesday published a paper entitled ‘Machinery of Government’ which said the responsibility for the International Climate Fund, currently co-managed by Leadsom’s Department of Energy, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), would pass to to the Department for International Development and the newly created Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (DBEIS).
The change was mentioned in an explanatory note attached to the Prime Minister’s Written Ministerial Statement, which laid out plans for DBEIS:
A spokesman for DEFRA denied the fund had been transferred out of the department, saying the note from the Cabinet Office was an error.
The International Climate Fund is DEFRA’s only climate change responsibility. The fund currently has some £4 billion of investment, and is set to grow a further £5.8 billion in the next 5 years.
Leadsom came under criticism from green groups for her views on climate change in her former role as Minister of State for Energy at the Department for Environment and Climate Change (DECC), after she cut support for renewables and spoke strongly in favour of fracking.
In 2015 she told a parliamentary fracking group that she had to ask whether climate change was real when she took the job.
“When I first came to this job one of my two questions was: ‘is climate change real?’ and the other was ‘is hydraulic fracturing safe?’”, she said.
In March she gave an interview in which she spoke about fracking and called anti-fracking groups “scaremongering”.
“People say it’ll cause earthquakes. It’s true it has caused some seismic activity, but that’s not the same as an earthquake”, she said.
“I appreciate it’s incredibly difficult politically, but looking at the benefits to the community they should be weighing that against lorry movements etc. Don’t be brow beaten by very scaremongering accusations into failing to take a decision or making a negative decision.”
According to her voting record she has generally voted against measures to stop climate change. She has repeatedly voted against setting a target on reducing carbon emissions, and has backed levies on renewable energy providers.
Here’s how she voted on climate change measures in 2016:
After her appointment to Environment Secretary on 14th June, she came under fire from environmental groups on Twitter.
Climate change lobbying groups had already been angered after DECC was been axed and merged into DBEIS.