New oil and gas licences will only fuel polluter profits not energy security

We need a just transition, but Westminster is doubling down on fossil fuels.

The UK Government’s climate wrecking claim that guaranteed annual oil and gas licensing rounds are in the interests of the country’s energy and security needs has been exposed as false and must be reversed, say the Scottish Greens. 

Analysis by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit has shown that new projects like the environment trashing Rosebank oil field will make little difference to the UK’s energy independence and security, and account for less than 1% of oil being used here.

Yet the Tory government will still try to push through the Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill with a vote happening at Westminster tonight, despite even some of its own MPs warning over its potential impact on the planet.

Former COP26 President Alok Sharma MP is the latest to say he will not vote with his party, just days after former net zero tsar Chris Skidmore resigned over it. Dozens of others have also put their name to a letter to the Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho urging her to drop the Bill.

Mark Ruskell, Scottish Greens spokesperson for climate and energy, said: “This bill is the wrong thing to do for the environment and our net zero ambitions, and is predicated on nothing more than false claims and naked opportunism.

“Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and other Tory MPs stood up and claimed that this was about protecting the UK’s energy independence and security in the face of war in Ukraine and now tensions his government are stoking in the Middle East.

“Yet the independent Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit has exposed this as false. It will do nothing of the sort. 

“Even his own MPs know it to be not just a lie, but an environmental outrage. One has quit already, and a growing number are telling him to reverse course. There is simply no justification for issuing new licences, let alone doing so on an annual basis.

“World leaders agreed at COP28 that governments had to transition away from oil and gas, not double down on them. It is clear this government is only interested in propping up fossil fuel company profits.

“Any MP with even the slightest shred of concern for our environment must vote against this polluters charter. The Tory party must not be allowed to burn our futures in their last months of government, a legacy future generations would need to carry.

“The Scottish Greens are on the side of science and campaigners who want to bring an end to fossil fuels. MPs from the other parties have a duty to stand up and do the same.”