Rishi Sunak’s decision to grant 100 new North Sea oil and gas licences drives a coach and horses through claims that Tories are on the side of those worried about climate change.
We need to use the North Sea’s existing fields to secure energy for the short to medium term. However, brand new exploration will have no effect on bills and takes a long time to come on stream – 28 years on average. It would also be wrong for the planet.
The UN has warned that countries are on course to produce double the amount of fossil fuels by 2030 than would help limit global temperature increases to 1.5°C. To get to a net zero energy system by 2050 involves no new oil and gas fields being approved beyond projects already committed to as of 2021. So, while we need a phased and fair transition, that does not mean business-as-usual or pretending the climate emergency does not exist.
The Tory UK Government’s plan to double down on fossil fuels is a disastrous answer to the crisis we face.
The best solution is a green energy sprint instead.
Labour recognises that we need a cheaper, zero-carbon electricity system by 2030. Our plans include establishing GB Energy – a new publicly-owned clean generation company – and quadrupling offshore wind, more than tripling solar power and more than doubling onshore wind capacity. Combined with plans to insulate 19 million homes, this could save households up to £1,400 a year on their energy bills.
Delivering this is vital to creating good jobs in industries of the future, tackling crippling energy bills and securing our economy. It is also central to achieving the highest sustained growth in the G7 and delivering jobs and productivity growth for all parts of the country, especially here in Wales.