The UK government should halt further oil and gas exploration to send a “clear signal” that it is committed to climate targets, the Climate Change Committee (CCC) has said.
In a letter to Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary, the government’s advisory committee said it recommended a “presumption against” new exploration, though stopped short of saying that new licences shouldn’t be awarded.
Claire James, campaigns coordinator for the Campaign Against Climate Change said it was “disappointing” that the CCC didn’t come out more strongly against awarding new drilling licences.
Other climate groups, however, said the letter was a signal that further exploration of oil and gas is neither compatible with the UK’s target of reaching net zero emissions by 2050, nor a solution to the energy crisis.
The CCC’s letter was sent in connection with an ongoing consultation looking at the introduction of “climate compatibility checkpoints” for any new oil and gas projects in the North Sea.
A former government review concluded that continued licensing can continue without disrupting key climate objectives, but that a “checkpoint” should be introduced to “ensure that licensing is only allowed to continue for as long as this remains the case.”