Environmental campaigners have reacted to the UK Government energy plans for an energy price freeze funded by borrowing.

The UK Government will open a new licensing round for the North Sea next week, and is expected to give out over 100 permits for companies to look for more climate-wrecking oil and gas. This is despite climate science and energy experts warning that any new oil and gas projects will push the world well past dangerous climate limits.

Independent advisors have made it clear that increasing UK supply of oil and gas will have almost no impact on UK bills as prices are set by the international market.

Liz Truss also announced that her Government will lift the moratorium on shale gas. Scotland has a de facto ban on fracking.

In the first 6 months of 2022, 5 oil companies made over £80 billion in profits: Shell £16.6bn, BP £12.2bn, Exxonmobil £21.7bn, TotalEnergies £15.2bn, Chevron £14.5bn

Friends of the Earth Scotland’s head of campaigns Mary Church said,

“The impact of measures announced today to stop the immediate rise in household bills is welcome, but the approach taken by the new Prime Minister singularly fails to address the fundamental problems of a broken energy system that serves only to enrich oil company bosses and shareholders.

“The money the UK Government is borrowing will be pumped straight into the coffers of oil companies when it could have helped deliver the transition to clean, reliable renewables. People in the UK are being robbed by fossil fuel companies but instead of making them pay for the harm they are causing, Liz Truss has decided to borrow more money to keep paying the robbers.

“This energy price crisis is being driven by the price of fossil fuels and the only sure fire to prevent this happening again is a rapid and fair transition to renewable energy and a scaling up of energy efficiency.”

NORTH SEA OIL & GAS LICENSING

“Burning oil and gas is driving the climate emergency that sees tens of millions displaced by floods in Pakistan and has brought extreme heatwaves and drought across the UK. The UK Government is denying the reality of climate change by encouraging companies to seek out more fuel for the fire that is engulfing the world.

“The Scottish Government must be willing to stand up to these reckless plans to expand fossil fuels and hand out more licences for oil and gas companies to explore and drill in the North Sea. Ministers at Holyrood must speak out and use all the tools at their disposal to block any plans to further lock us into the oil and gas that is driving both the climate and cost of living crises.”

FRACKING

“The move to try reopen and force through fracking is a disgrace. Not only is the industry incredibly harmful in climate terms it also brings with it serious local health and environmental risks. Its laughable to suggest that fracked gas will deliver within 6 months. Communities have already successfully fought and stopped it in Northern Ireland, England and Scotland so wherever this dirty dangerous industry is proposed, it will be opposed once again.”

NOTES TO EDITORS

The UK Committee on Climate Change wrote to the UK energy minister Kwasi Kwarteng in Feb 2022 to say:

“We would not expect increased UK extraction to materially affect global oil or gas prices, as the UK energy market is highly connected to international markets and the potential supply relatively small. Even extracting all proven UK reserves and resources from new fields would only meet about 1% of European gas demand each year to 2050.”

“The best approach to reducing consumers’ exposure to fossil fuel prices is to make systematic efforts to reduce UK demand for fossil fuels, through policies that enable and encourage a cost-effective switch to low-carbon alternatives and improved efficiency.”

Letter: Climate Compatibility of New Oil and Gas Fields

Friends of the Earth Scotland is:
* Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 73 national member groups, and 5,000 local activist groups.