Following on from the Climate Change Committee’s net-zero carbon target and UK, Scottish and Welsh “climate emergency” declarations, ‘Sea Change’ reveals, for the first time, the climate impact of North Sea oil and gas extraction, and urges the governments to prioritise a job-creating energy transition.
The report’s key findings:
• The UK’s 5.7 billion barrels of oil and gas in already operating oil and gas fields will exceed the UK’s share in relation to the Paris climate goals – whereas industry and government aim to extract 20 billion barrels.
• The additional oil and gas extraction enabled by recent subsidies will add twice as much carbon to the atmosphere as the phase-out of coal power saves.
• Given the right policies, clean industries could create more than three jobs for every North Sea oil job at risk, which can enable an “equivalent job guarantee” for every oil worker.
The authors call for termination of the soon-to-be-completed 31st oil licensing round, and cancellation of the 32nd round, which the UK Government plans for later in the year. Instead, they say the UK and Scottish Governments should work with affected communities and trade unions on a Just Transition plan to create new decent jobs in clean industries, alongside a managed phase-out of oil and gas extraction.
The report warns that failing to begin a transition now will mean later action would have to be so rapid as to cause a collapse of the industry, putting tens of thousands of jobs and regional economies at risk.