Environmental activists have raised series of concerns over the Prime Minister’ declaration of roughly awarding over 100 licenses to oil and gas operators to explore on the North Sea. The activists claimed that, this would be a contradiction to the administration’s promises to achieving net zero.
Rishi Sunak averred that, the licenses were crucial to UK’s energy strategy, as environmentalists and scientists continue to caution the administration over its issuance of licenses for oil and gas exploration.
According to the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, the government’s goal of achieving net zero by 2050 remains untouched. He made these remarks during his visit to Aberdeenshire.
Downing Street, prior to the visit, announced that, a new set of licenses are under consideration, along with two new carbon capture and storage developments, including the Scorn project in north-east Scotland.
“When we reach net zero in 2050, a quarter of our energy needs will still come from oil and gas, and domestic gas production has about a quarter or a third of the carbon footprint of imported gas.”
“So not only is it better for our energy security, not to rely on foreign dictators for that energy, not only is it good for jobs, particularly Scottish jobs, it’s actually better for the environment because there’s no point in importing stuff from halfway around the world, with two to three times the carbon footprint of the stuff we’ve got at home.”Rishi Sunak, Prime Minister of UK.
The Prime Minister further insisted that, achieving net zero by 2050, and also stopping the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030, still remains the administration’s main objectives.
“This is a good story for the UK overall. It’s not about political seats, it’s just about doing the right thing for the country.”Rishi Sunak, Prime Minister of UK.
When asked how he was getting to Scotland, Sunak angrily responded that, “I’ll be flying as I normally would.”
“If you or others think that the answer to climate change is getting people to ban everything that they’re doing, just to stop people going on holiday, I think that’s absolutely the wrong approach.”Rishi Sunak, Prime Minister of UK.
The Acorn project in northeast Scotland and Viking in the Humber have been chosen for construction by 2030, as a result of a similar announcement regarding carbon capture and storage technologies.
It comes after the two earlier initiatives chosen in 2021, one in Humber and Teesside and the other in Liverpool Bay, both of which are scheduled to be operational by the middle of the 2020s.
According to Oxfam’s climate policy adviser, Lyndsay Walsh, the exploration of additional oil and gas will hamper UK’s net zero policy.
“Extracting more fossil fuels from the North Sea will send a wrecking ball through the UK’s climate commitments at a time when we should be investing in a just transition to a low-carbon economy and our own abundant renewables.”Lyndsay Walsh, Oxfam’s Climate Policy Adviser.
“Climate change is already battering the planet with unprecedented wildfires and heatwaves across the globe. Granting hundreds of new oil and gas licenses 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.”Mike Childs, the Head of Policy for Friends of the Earth.
Moreover, Sunak emphasized his intensions to improve UK’s oil and gas exploration, which has been a major point of contention with the Labour party, which has promised that, if given a chance at governance, they will abrogate all North Sea explorations.
Sunak and his ministers have accused Labour of increasing the UK’s reliance on foreign resources, if it goes forward with the prohibition on new North Sea ventures.
According to Labour, it would make significant investments in nuclear power as well as in renewable energy sources like wind, which will lower costs and improve the sustainability and security of supply.
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