Climate charity condemns government’s domestic oil and gas plans

A charity supporting climate innovation, Ashden, has condemned the government’s decision to issue a new licensing round for North Sea oil and gas projects.

Secretary of State for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Kwasi Kwarteng, recently wrote a letter backing the government’s plans as part of the new Energy Security Strategy. 

In it Mr Kwarteng said projects in the North Sea are vital to ensure a smooth transition to home-grown energy and to lessen reliance on foreign fuels. 

red and white tower under blue sky during night time

‘I want to also be clear that we will not bend to the will of activists who naively want us to extinguish production in the UK Continental Shelf – doing so would put energy security and British jobs at risk, and simply increases foreign imports, whilst not reducing demand,’ he wrote. ‘Scaling up, accelerating and investing in home-grown energy production will support us in continuing to grow the British economy, create good jobs across the country, and crucially bring down consumer bills in the long-term.’ 

However, Ashden criticised this position and cited the recent IPCC report which recommends a switch to renewable energy as soon as possible. 

‘The government is extremely short sighted to issue a new round of oil and gas licensing. Instead, they should invest in the ‘3 Rs’ – Rapid transition away from fossil fuels, more Renewables and major Retrofits – right away!’ said Harriet Lamb, CEO of Ashden. ‘Which planet does the Government live on that, just six months since they led COP26 calls for dramatic action, they want to encourage more of the very fossil fuels that are destroying our world?  

‘The UK should be concentrating all efforts into quick and cheap renewable energies, and prioritising energy efficiency measures. Smart investment in retrofit will reduce energy demand, turn icy houses into insulated homes, and will help families up and down the country save on high energy bills.  It would also boost local businesses, create new jobs in every corner of the country and support the government’s net-zero and levelling-up targets. This would be a far better move than frittering away precious time and money on extracting expensive fossil fuels which will take years to be extracted. Increasing oil and gas licences will do nothing to solve the fuel crisis we’re in now but will pour fuel on the fire of the climate crisis.’

The new licensing round is planned to launch this autumn and projects will be subject to a climate compatibility checkpoint introduced last December. 

In related news the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) has expressed dismay that energy efficiency measures have been left out of the government’s new Energy Security Strategy.

Photo by Maksym Kaharlytskyi


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