Can the Environment Survive Theresa May's Premiership?

15/07/2016 15:41 | Updated 15 July 2016

Theresa May is definitely not one to mince words. She's a no-nonsense politician with a clear sense of direction, and tends to follow through on even the most trivial of promises. That's why her first couple of days in Number 10 have been so goddamn terrifying - particularly for those of us who enjoy the odd bit of greenspace.

When he rose to power in 2010, David Cameron vowed to give us the "greenest government ever". In hindsight, did he fail spectacularly? Of course he did. But hey, at least the guy made half an effort.

Through the coalition's cautiously optimistic Department for Energy and Climate Change, Cameron was able to dramatically bolster uptake in domestic renewables by introducing lucrative new government incentives. Huge steps were taken in order to slash the country's carbon emissions, and ministers finally started to organise a largescale redesign of the UK's ridiculously inefficient national grid.

Things were actually looking up. But what goes up must come down, right?

Fast forward six years, and we're more or less back where we started. Britain has been getting very cosy with frackers, and the government has been diverting funds away from clean energy in order to invest in natural gas as a "bridge fuel". Meanwhile, renewable subsidies have been slashed dramatically - halting domestic uptake and sending countless green energy firms into administration.

No one can deny this net regression will pose severe negative impacts upon our environment for generations to come. But on Thursday, Britain's new prime minister showed voters exactly how many fucks she gives about that catastrophic regression by killing off the government department responsible for tackling these dynamic issues. In doing so, May has earnestly and knowingly stripped away the final remnants of David Cameron's green agenda.

And who has inherited the unenviable task of trying to rebuild some sort of tangible environmental policy in its wake? Pedantic Brexiteer and former Conservative leadership hopeful Andrea Leadsom.

Let's get one thing straight right now: our new Environment Secretary couldn't spot a lick of green if she were sitting in a field of grass.

In the past six years alone, she's tried to sell off Britain's forests, lift the ban on fox-hunting and has repeatedly voted against new measures to halt climate change. She's opposed carbon reduction targets, backed crippling levies on renewable energy providers and can regularly be found singing from the rooftops about the glories of fracking.

Hell, this time last year Andrea Leadsom didn't even think climate change was a real thing. And today, she's in charge of the environment?

This has got to stop.

Once upon a dream, Britain was at the forefront of ecological progress. Our government's unwavering support for ambitious carbon reduction targets, green investment and environmental protection inspired confidence and leadership across the globe. Over the past couple of years, we've totally let that reputation slide.

Yet Theresa May has been handed a golden opportunity to repair Britain's increasingly toxic environmental policy and demonstrate true leadership in the face of severe, impending ecological challenges. There's still time to get back on track and show the world that we actually mean business.

But if the prime minister is even remotely interested in protecting the world around her, she'd better start walking the walk. After all, there's a whole lot more than politics at stake here - and the clock is already ticking.