UK government "in denial" about climate change
Climate campaigners are seething after Rishi Sunak confirmed the UK government will issue over 100 new licences for oil and gas exploration.
Friends of the Earth Scotland said the move was effectively climate denial while the Scottish Greens said Sunak showed a “reckless disregard for people and the planet.”
Sunak also said that the Acorn project was chosen as the third of four carbon capture and storage clusters in the UK.
Climate campaigners regard carbon capture and storage (CCS) as an attempt to ‘greenwash’ the oil industry and pointed to the long history of failure of the technology.
Instead of giving more public money to oil firms it should be invested in climate solution that work today and can improve people’s lives such as public transport and home insulation, they say.
Mary Church from Friends of the Earth Scotland said: “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."
“By ignoring the huge harm caused by fossil fuel company greed and doing bidding of the industry, the UK government is blatantly in denial about climate breakdown."
Church added that by committing to future licensing rounds on the same day, it was clear that carbon capture is little more than a greenwashing tactic by big oil to try and keep their climate-wrecking industry in business.
“CCS has a long history of over-promising and under-delivering yet both the Scottish and UK Governments have fallen for the snake oil salesmen rather than face reality that the only solution to the climate crisis is a fast and fair phase out of oil and gas,” she said.
“Funding for the Acorn project is yet another massive public subsidy to oil companies like Shell who have been making billions in profits, while ordinary people are struggling to pay the bills.
“Instead of handing more money to polluters, it is time to redirect that investment to climate solutions that we know can deliver emissions cuts and improve peoples’ lives today - such as improving public transport and insulating people’s homes to help with energy bills.”
The Scottish Greens climate and energy spokesperson, Mark Ruskell MSP, said: “This is an utterly reckless decision that will leave a long and destructive legacy.
“It is probably the single most consequential decision Rishi Sunak will make as Prime Minister and he has chosen the worst possible option.
“It shows a total disregard for our environment and for future generations. If these licences go ahead it will be a big leap towards climate chaos.
“Climate breakdown is the greatest environmental threat that we will ever face. Our world is on fire. We are already way past the point when we should have been transitioning away from fossil fuels, yet Downing Street is choosing to double down on them.
“Our planet is already experiencing record high temperatures. Without immediate and far reaching change the deadly fires and devastation we have seen in Greece and across Europe will become the new normal."