Given her resignation last Friday, prime minister Theresa May’s promise to make the UK carbon neutral by 2050 has surprised many.

This bold, likely expensive policy updates the 2008 Climate Change Act’s objective: from cutting emissions by 80 percent to totally offsetting them come 2050.

May’s “net zero” pledge contradicts treasury recommendations, and raises questions about how departing leaders should use their final moments.

On Monday, May’s appearance at London Tech Week, Europe’s biggest tech festival, was allegedly met with some consternation—despite promising £1.2 billion in overseas investment.

This distrust may have begun during her tenure as Home Secretary, particularly harsh towards the highly-skilled immigrant workers who form a considerable part of tech’s workforce.

Before the end of his tenure, US president Barack Obama passed a flurry of bills through—often by executive order.

His last-minute moves also focused on technology and safeguarding the environment.

But Donald Trump has since overturned or undercut much of his predecessor’s orders, underscoring the fragility of final-hour governance.

Having lost party and parliamentary support weeks ago, is May’s mandate strong enough to enforce such policies? And will they endure?

Or are exiting leaders’ efforts to bolster their legacy normal, beneficial even—injecting healthy dynamism into democratic processes?

 

Credit for this article's header image goes to Getty.