PM’s comments backing development of untapped North Sea reserves to reduce household energy costs branded ‘incoherent’ – as most fuel will be exported overseas.
Rishi Sunak’s claim that approving new licences for North Sea drilling will make energy bills cheaper has been blasted as “pure spin” by campaigners.
Backing the development of untapped oil and gas fields on a visit to Scotland, the Prime Minister claimed it would bolster energy security by making the UK less reliant on gas from “dictators” like Vladimir Putin.
In a tweet, the PM also insisted on his move: “This will boost domestic gas productions, which means British homes and businesses will have access to cleaner and cheaper energy.”
But green groups and charities said this wasn’t true and amounted to “smoke and mirrors” – because most of the fuel produced by any new North Sea fields will be exported abroad rather than benefiting Brits.
Prime Minister Rishi “Biggles” Sunak says it’s absolutely fine for him to use a chopper instead of getting a train because he’s “running the country”
Climate change activists say Rishi’s jetsetting is unnecessarily pumping harmful CO2 into the atmosphere.
Liberal Democrat transport spokesman Wera Hobhouse raged: “The Prime Minister just cannot help himself. He should catch a train for once to see what the rest of us have to put up with.
“When you catch private flights to Southampton and Dorset, you know you have a problem.”
‘Climate change is already battering the planet with unprecedented wildfires and heatwaves across the globe.’
The Prime Minister has today been condemned by opposition politicians as well as environmental groups after announcing the approval of about 100 new North Sea oil and gas licences amid a climate emergency.
Sunak, who says he’s committed to net zero, made the announcement during a visit to Aberdeenshire, arguing that the move would help the UK reach its target of meeting net zero by 2050.
It also draws a sharp dividing line with the Labour Party which has said that it will block new oil and gas developments in Britain if it wins power, saying it would focus instead on investments in renewable sources such as wind and nuclear power.
Sunak’s announcement comes at a time when the UN General Secretary is warning that the era of global warming has ended and “the era of global boiling has arrived”, after scientists confirmed July was on track to be the world’s hottest month on record and with heat waves causing wildfires in Europe’s Mediterranean region, Sunak seems totally divorced from reality with his latest announcement.
Reacting to the Prime Minister’s announcement of new oil and gas licences, Friends of the Earth’s head of policy, Mike Childs, said: “Rishi Sunak’s energy security drive should focus on energy efficiency and the UK’s vast home-grown renewable resources, rather than championing more costly and dirty fossil fuels.
“Climate change is already battering the planet with unprecedented wildfires and heatwaves across the globe. Granting hundreds of new oil and gas licences will simply pour more fuel on the flames, while doing nothing for energy security as these fossil fuels will be sold on international markets and not reserved for UK use.”
“The U.K. government is blatantly in denial about climate breakdown.”
U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced Monday that his government will approve hundreds of new licenses for oil and gas drilling in the North Sea, drawing anger from climate advocates who say he’s doing the bidding of the fossil fuel industry amid a nightmarish wave of extreme weather.
Paying lip service to the nation’s net-zero emissions target, the Tory leader also laid out plans for two new carbon capture and storage facilities in Northeast Scotland and the Humber, lining up behind an oil industry-backed approach to reining in pollution that critics say is a false solution to the global climate crisis.
“Burning oil and gas is driving extreme weather and killing people on every continent, yet Rishi Sunak is gleefully encouraging the arsonists to go and put more fuel on the fire,” said Mary Church, a campaigner with Friends of the Earth Scotland. “By committing to future licensing rounds on the same day, it’s clear to see that carbon capture is little more than a greenwashing tactic by Big Oil to try and keep their climate-wrecking industry in business.”
Major fossil fuel giants such as Shell and BP have maintained oil and gas facilities in the North Sea for years. According to a recent analysis by Greenpeace, oil and gas licenses approved by the U.K. government over the past two years are set to generate as much carbon dioxide as Denmark emits annually—roughly the equivalent of 14 million cars.
“History will view this as an act of gross criminality. Our future sacrificed for the profits of a tiny elite.”
Philip Evans of Greenpeace U.K. said Monday that Sunak’s new announcements are “nothing but a cynical political ploy to sow division, and the climate is collateral damage.”
“Just as wildfires and floods wreck homes and lives around the world, Rishi Sunak’s government has decided to row back on key climate policies, attempted to toxify net zero, and recycled old myths about North Sea drilling,” said Evans. “Relying on fossil fuels is terrible for our energy security, the cost of living, and the climate. Our sky-high bills and recent extreme weather have demonstrated that.”
“Rishi Sunak knows that any oil and gas from the North Sea will just be sold on the international market, making oil companies even richer at the expense of the rest of us. How will this help our bills exactly?” Evans asked, countering the prime minister’s claims that new drilling will enhance the U.K.’s “energy security.”
“If Sunak were serious about boosting our energy security while keeping energy bills down,” Evans continued, “he’d remove the absurd barriers holding back cheap, homegrown renewables and launch a nationwide insulation program to tackle energy waste in our homes.”
Nick Dearden, director of the U.K.-based advocacy group Global Justice Now, wrote that “history will view this as an act of gross criminality. Our future sacrificed for the profits of a tiny elite.”
“The talk of securing our independence couldn’t be further from the truth,” Dearden added. “This leaves us on the hook for £billions, even if the next govt rescinds these contracts, as they must, the fossil fuel elite will pocket a fortune at our expense.”
In addition to the new drilling license commitments, the Financial Timesreported Sunday that the U.K. government has “made it cheaper for industry to pollute in Britain compared with the E.U. by watering down reforms to the carbon market.”
“The U.K. government is blatantly in denial about climate breakdown,” said Church.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is set to announce a multi-million pound carbon capture scheme called Acorn. Carbon Capture has never worked and is instead a manufactured hoax by the oil and gas industry to enable themselves to continue profiteering and fekking the planet.
Sunak must know this and is willing to waste more public millions further supporting the fossil fuel industry destroying the planet.
Scientists told the Guardian that an overdependence on CCS was ill-advised. More than 700 scientists have written to the prime minister asking him to grant no new oil and gas licences, describing CCS as “yet to be proved at scale”, and the UN secretary-general called on governments last week to stop developing oil and gas.
Bob Ward, head of policy at the Grantham Institute, said CCS technology would be needed for certain industries, but that using it to enable the continued use of fossil fuels was a mistake. “What does not make sense is to carry on with further development of new fossil fuel reserves on the assumption that CCS will be available to mop up all the additional emissions. While the costs of CCS will come down, it will make fossil fuel use even more expensive, and it will not eliminate all the risks resulting from the price volatility and energy insecurity of fossil fuels. A successful and competitive economy in the future will be powered by clean and affordable domestic energy, not unreliable and insecure fossils fuels,” he said.
“CCS is not required if the government moves to renewables as quickly as possible – especially as I am unaware of any CCS that works,” added Mark Maslin, professor of earth science at UCL.
Kevin Anderson, professor of energy and climate at Manchester, said: “When it comes to energy emissions, the claimed prospect of CCS continues its long-established role in supporting the development of the oil and gas industry and in further delaying real cuts in emissions. Given the huge cost, very high-life cycle emissions and appalling record of working as promised, there is little, if any, merit in pursuing CCS as a major plank of UK energy strategy.”
INTERNATIONAL climate activist Greta Thunberg condemned the British government as “out of touch with reality” today as she joined protesters in London against the Rosebank oil field.
Campaigners gathered outside the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero against the proposed plans for the new site off the Shetland coast.
The plans were originally expected to get approved before parliamentary recess this month but have been delayed over climate concerns.
Ms Thunberg said that a decision by Energy Secretary Grant Shapps to approve oil and gas explorations at Britain’s largest site would be “deliberately destructive.”
The Swedish activist said: “How can the British government even consider pressing ahead with new drilling when we can see what the burning of fossil fuels is doing to the climate and to people?
“The extreme weather events being experienced around the world right now is just a taste of what’s to come if we don’t get off fossil fuels.”
“Asking nicely hasn’t worked out,” said Elise Joshi as she stood up during the White House press secretary’s remarks.
Shortly after U.S. President Joe Biden angered climate campaigners by failing to mention fossil fuels in his remarks about new protections for millions of people facing extreme heat, the executive director of a youth-led advocacy group decided to address the administration directly about officials’ refusal to end support for the planet-heating oil and gas industry.
Elise Joshi, 21, stood up as White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was addressing a crowd at an event hosted by the voter engagement group Voters of Tomorrow. The campaigner spoke about Gen Z for Change’s long-stated demand that Biden declare a climate emergency—a move that would unlock numerous resources to fight the climate crisis and expedite the shift away from oil and fossil gas.
“Excuse me for interrupting, but asking nicely hasn’t worked out,” said Joshi. “A million young people wrote to the administration pleading not to approve a disastrous oil drilling project in Alaska, and we were ignored. So I’m here channeling the strength of my ancestors and generation.”
An event staffer approached Joshi, but Jean-Pierre urged them to “let her talk,” allowing the campaigner to demand that Biden “stop approving new oil and gas projects and align with youth, science, and frontline communities.”
When Joshi was finished speaking Jean-Pierre acknowledged that she had brought up the Willow project, an oil drilling operation that was approved on public land in Alaska this year. The project is expected to produce more than 600 million barrels of crude oil over the next three decades—releasing about 280 million metric tons of heat-trapping carbon emissions.
Joshi also noted that the Biden administration has approved drilling projects at a faster rate than the Trump administration.
As other Gen Z for Change campaigners called on the White House to “declare a climate emergency,” Jean-Pierre defended Biden’s record by saying he has “taken more action on climate change than any other president,” and said she would speak to Joshi privately after the event.
“We can talk through all that he has done and all that he wants to do, and we can also listen to you,” said the press secretary.
U.S. Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-Fla.), who has also called for far-reaching climate action and at 26 is the youngest member of Congress, applauded Joshi for speaking out.
“I join the movement in asking the president to declare a climate emergency,” said Frost.
“Every house burnt to the ground, every town forced to evacuate, every ecosystem lost to a wildfire is a necessary consequence of a business model like Shell’s.”
With much of the world reeling from record-shattering heat and devastating wildfires, the London-based oil giant Shell is poised to ramp up its investments in planet-warming fossil fuels after ditching its plan to cut oil production.
An analysis released Thursday by the rights group Global Witness estimates that Shell’s investments in oil and gas projects are set to surge to around $14.5 billion this year, a 10% increase over 2022. The company is expected to spend far less on what it defines as “renewables and energy solutions.”
“Fossil fuels are the number one cause of climate breakdown, which is stoking extreme heatwaves, forest fires, and drought,” said Jonathan Noronha-Gant, a senior campaigner at Global Witness. “Every house burnt to the ground, every town forced to evacuate, every ecosystem lost to a wildfire is a necessary consequence of a business model like Shell’s, which prioritizes short-term cash grabs over the safety and survivability of our societies.”
The new analysis came as Shell reported $5.1 billion in second-quarter profits, a major decline compared to the company’s record-setting $11.5 billion in profits during the same period last year. Despite the profit dip, which Shell blamed on falling oil and gas prices, the company announced a 15% quarterly dividend increase and $3 billion in stock buybacks.
“CEO Wael Sawan’s fossil fuel direction continues to be solely aimed at profit for shareholders,” Nine de Pater, a campaigner with Friends of the Earth Netherlands, said in a statement. “This is immoral and completely irresponsible. We are seeing the impact of the climate crisis around the world this summer: the wildfires in Greece and heat records in southern Europe, Algeria, and India, among others, and the floods in Italy and Afghanistan.”
“Shell’s profits clearly show that the company chooses profits over human lives,” she added.
Shell, which has known about the climate impacts of burning fossil fuels since the 1970s, announced last month that it intends to boost gas production in the coming years while abandoning its plan to reduce oil production by up to 2% per year.
In an interview weeks after the announcement, Sawan claimed it would be “dangerous and irresponsible” to curb oil and gas production even as scientists say that’s exactly what’s needed to avert catastrophic warming.
Global Witness recently estimated that Shell’s reversal on oil production could generate an average of “29 million tonnes of extra carbon per year, almost as much as Denmark emits annually.”
“By 2030,” the group added, “Shell’s extra estimated emissions would be as much as Spain—one of Europe’s largest polluters—produces in one year.”
The news is full of it: July set to be the warmest month on record meaning that temperatures are running away or as UN chief Antonio Guterres said the planet is entering an “era of global boiling”.
This is a result of Capitalism. Capitalists see nothing wrong with simply profiteering and disregarding the consequences of their actions: they’re more than happy to feck the planet and profit from it. That’s exactly how we’ve arrived here and – of course – why do you imagine that they’ll stop now? Capitalist scum like Lord Frost, Liz Truss, Rishi Sunak, Grant Shapps and Michael Gove will tell you that trashing the planet is a price worth paying to fatten their and their friends’ wallets.
We need to snatch power from these planet-destroying Capitalist scum to have any meaningful climate action. It’s pointless voting Capitalist Conservative or the Red Capitalist Labour variety. We need to elect Greens and we need Greens to pull their fingers out ffs!
16.25: Suggest that we abandon the electoral democratic route if the Capitalists further attack our planet. It’s a plutocracy not a democracy after all – why should we respect or be held to democratic norms?