UK to defy net zero targets with more oil and gas drilling

(The Guardian, 6 Apr 2022) Pressured by Tory right, minister to announce gas-heavy energy strategy with little emphasis on insulation.

The UK government is set to order more drilling for oil and gas in the North Sea in defiance of its own net zero targets, while neglecting alternative measures that experts say would provide much quicker relief from high energy bills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions instead of raising them.

The energy security strategy to be unveiled on Thursday will acknowledge the need to move away from fossil fuels, the Guardian understands, but still allow for licences to explore new oil and gas fields to be expedited and more production from existing North Sea fields.

Ministers are expected to say the UK needs more oil and gas in the short term, including new sources of fossil fuel imports, to replace the small proportion of UK oil and gas that comes from Russia, and ease pressure on prices.

The government will present North Sea oil and gas as lower carbon than imported gas, according to a Whitehall source, to meet the UK’s needs while ramping up renewables and nuclear power. Yet the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change presented a “now or never” warning on Monday, showing that new fossil fuel exploration will put the Paris agreement target of limiting global heating to 1.5C beyond reach.

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The Guardian, 6 Apr 2022: UK to defy net zero targets with more oil and gas drilling