The UK government has announced that it will order more drilling for oil and gas in the North Sea in defiance of its own net-zero targets.
The latest move means that the government will be neglecting alternative measures that experts say would provide much quicker relief from high energy bills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions instead of raising them.
While the energy security strategy which is set to be unveiled on Thursday will focus on the need to move away from fossil fuels, it will allow for licences to explore new oil and gas fields to be expedited and more production from existing North Sea fields.
UK Ministers are expected to say the country needs more oil and gas in the short term, including new sources of fossil fuel imports which will replace the small proportion of UK oil and gas that comes from Russia.
A Whitehall source has since confirmed that the government will present North Sea oil and gas as lower carbon than imported gas to meet the UK’s needs while also ramping up renewables and nuclear power.
This is coming after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change presented a “now or never” warning on Monday, showing that new fossil fuel exploration will put the Paris agreement target of limiting global heating to 1.5C beyond reach.
According to reports, the business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, who is expected to present the energy strategy, strongly favours ramping up renewable energy over oil and gas.
However, he is under pressure from Tory rightwingers and the government is set to offer a heavy emphasis on gas, with few measures on insulation or switching to heat pumps.
In their response, Green campaigners say that new North Sea fields licensed today would produce no gas for years or decades but result in continued higher emissions long into the future.
Story was adapted from the Guardian.