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Olivia Blake MP: ‘Somewhat than drilling for extra gas to pour on the local weather emergency, it’s time for the true safety of a dash to renewables’

Olivia Blake is the Labour Social gathering MP for Sheffield Hallam

Monday introduced the second studying of the Authorities’s wrongheaded Offshore Petroleum Licensing Invoice – laws that will shamefully grant additional licenses to extract oil and gasoline from the North Sea.

The Tory backbencher and former COP26 President, Alok Sharma, is true to say that the laws “is a complete distraction” which reinforces the “unlucky notion” – or, certainly, the fact – that the UK is rolling again from local weather motion.

The previous Prime Minister and now Secretary of State on the FCDO, David Cameron, infamously “ditched the inexperienced crap”. It now appears that climate-conscious members of the Conservative benches are ditching the Authorities as a result of their insurance policies are – not good.

Whereas the tabling of this Invoice would possibly recommend in any other case, simply final month at COP28 the UK signed the UAE consensus. Ministers can be hard-pressed to clarify how encouraging extra frequent licensing rounds for brand spanking new oil and gasoline, and elevated fossil gas manufacturing within the North Sea, helps the fulfilment of this settlement.

In keeping with the United Nations Secretary Normal, the Intergovernmental Panel on Local weather Change, the Worldwide Power Company, and lots of of scientists, new oil and gasoline licenses put the aim of limiting world common temperatures to 1.5C at severe threat.

We will already see the impacts of a warming world. Simply final yr the UK skilled not solely its second hottest yr on file but additionally the interval between July and December was the wettest in 130 years. Many communities throughout the nation had been submerged, and flooding brought about widespread harm, with farmers dealing with enormous losses to rotting crops in waterlogged fields. The disaster is right here; it could’t be ignored.

The basis trigger is the burning of fossil fuels. However since Parliament declared a local weather emergency on 1st Could 2019, 17 new oil and gasoline fields have been granted permission to drill – Laverda, Barnacle, Cadet, Sillimanite, Blythe, Elgood, Southwark, Evelyn, Abigail, Jackdaw, Tommeliten, Talbot, Teal West, Murlach, Alwyn East, Rosebank and Victory.

The burning of Rosebank’s oil alone would produce over 200 million tonnes of CO2, equal to operating 56 coal-fired energy vegetation for a yr. That’s greater than the mixed annual CO2 emissions of all 28 low-income international locations on the earth.

Not solely does the Authorities’s route of journey on this Invoice contradict the UK’s worldwide agreements below the United Nations Framework on Local weather Change however additionally it is diametrically against the guarantees we made to guard 30% of UK water for nature by 2030 at COP15 below the Conference on Organic Range.

Greater than 1 / 4 of the oil and gasoline websites licensed in October final yr overlap with Marine Protected Areas. Modeling exhibits {that a} main oil spill from Rosebank might affect almost 20 MPAs, because of a pipeline operating via the Faroe-Shetland Sponge Belt Marine Protected Space.

No surprise the Local weather Change Committee warned in its Progress to Parliament final yr that the UK is “not a local weather chief”. Assist for elevated oil and gasoline manufacturing has been a contributing issue to that – alongside insufficient planning for nature restoration.

The Invoice does nothing to meet our local weather and nature targets. However it additionally gained’t enhance our power safety or assist struggling households. In truth, the Secretary of State, Claire Coutinho, has admitted these new licenses won’t deliver down Payments as a result of costs are mounted on worldwide markets.

Folks throughout Britain, together with in my constituency, typically reside in damp, chilly houses. They’re priced out of an power system that’s damaged and never designed for the twenty first Century. They want help. Somewhat than surging costs and the chaos of worldwide fossil gas markets, they deserve the true safety of fresh, renewable power, and regular, inexpensive payments dictated by the home provide of wind, tide, and daylight.  

Simply because the Secretary of State has come clear about Payments, so, too, ought to she be trustworthy about jobs. Regardless of what the federal government is telling the nation, we needs to be clear that neither this Invoice – nor the countless pursuit of oil and gasoline – will shield British jobs.

A whole lot of latest oil and gasoline licenses have been issued over the previous decade, but over 200,000 jobs have been misplaced within the business. Right this moment 30,000 hardworking individuals are employed within the sector. As a substitute of taking part in politics with their futures, they need to be given actual safety with a transparent, detailed plan to help them via the power transition.

The enlargement of oil and gasoline licenses violates our ever extra urgent worldwide local weather and nature obligations; ignores the power safety of thousands and thousands; and fails to supply any severe plan to the tens of hundreds of individuals working within the oil and gasoline sector. Somewhat than drilling for extra gas to pour on the local weather emergency, it’s time for the true safety of a dash to renewables, a simply transition to wash inexperienced power, and an finish to fossil fuels.  

The publish Olivia Blake MP: ‘Rather than drilling for more fuel to pour on the climate emergency, it’s time for the real security of a sprint to renewables’ appeared first on Left Foot Forward: Leading the UK's progressive debate.