UK ministers to face legal challenge over North Sea oil, gas licenses
Three campaign groups plan to legally challenge the UK government over new licenses for North Sea oil and gas exploration and the new coal mine in Cumbria.
Three campaign groups are legally challenging the UK government over its plans to grant 130 new licenses for North Sea oil and gas exploration and approve a new coal mine in Cumbria, the country's first in more than 30 years, The Guardian reported.
Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, and Uplift have written to Business Secretary Grant Shapps and presented explanations why they consider the latest licensing to be unlawful.
The three groups called for the decision to be reversed and underlined that the new oil and gas exploration is incompatible with the UK’s rules and international climate obligations.
The Guardian cited Phil Evans, an oil and gas campaigner at Greenpeace, as saying that the UK government claims that the production facilities would not produce much carbon dioxide instead of examining the impacts of burning the fuel produced.
UK ministers have claimed that the Cumbrian mine would be "net zero" in terms of greenhouse gases from mining the coal, as per the newspaper. They also claimed that the North Sea oil and gas expansion has been defended as necessary to solve the UK’s energy crisis.
The Guardian quoted Evans as saying that "ministers keep greenlighting new fossil fuel projects without fully considering the climate-wrecking emissions from burning those fuels. That’s completely irresponsible. It’s like giving an unlit cigarette a quick sniff and concluding that it can’t do much harm.”
He slammed claims that the new North Sea oil and gas expansion was needed to solve the energy crisis as wrong.
Evans considered that "new coal, oil and gas produced in the UK will do nothing to help lower energy bills, but they will fuel more deadly storms, rising seas, floods and droughts around the world."
"If the UK government wants to retain a shred of credibility on climate, they should stop setting off new climate timebombs and get serious about investing in the solutions. If they don’t, we are ready to challenge them in court," the oil and gas campaigner was quoted as saying.
According to The Guardian, the three letters come in addition to other challenges underway against the Horse Hill oil project in Surrey, the Jackdaw gas field in the North Sea, and the government’s promise of $1bn in finance for a gas megaproject in Mozambique.
In response, a spokesperson for the UK government told The Guardian that it is "vital we continue to maintain our energy security, by boosting our homegrown energy supply and strengthening our domestic resilience."
It is noteworthy that last year, the UK hosted the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, where world leaders agreed to focus on limiting global temperature rises to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
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