Oil and gas licensing decision ‘kicking the can down the road’ until world not looking, warns IPPR
Think tank says any further licensing is incompatible with UK’s climate leadership ambitions, in response to North Sea Transition Deal
The Institute for Public Policy Research think tank has responded to the government's announcement of a North Sea Transition deal and urged it to go further by adopting a more collaborative approach with the Scottish government and offering more support for workers.
Luke Murphy, head of the IPPR Environmental Justice Commission, said:
"It is welcome that the UK government says it recognises that future oil and gas licensing must be compatible with net zero, but it is deliberately kicking the can down the road by not making a final decision on oil and gas licensing until after COP 26 – when the eyes of the world have moved on.
"There is no such thing as a low-carbon barrel of oil. The most effective way to reduce emissions is by phasing it out.
"The evidence is already overwhelming that any further licensing of North Sea oil and gas is incompatible with the UK’s and Scotland’s domestic and international climate commitments. If the government ‘s proposed 'Climate Compatibility Checkpoint' were a meaningful test it would almost certainly mean an end to new licenses.
“If the government is determined on this course, then the 'checkpoint' should be legally binding, determined by an independent body and in line with overall net zero targets and the Paris Agreement.”
Joshua Emden, research fellow at IPPR, said:
“Phasing out oil and gas will pose huge challenges for communities around Aberdeen and across Scotland. That’s why any deal should be a partnership between the UK and Scottish governments to manage the transition, alongside local communities and workers in the industry. Disappointingly this 'deal' fails to do that - with no apparent involvement of the Scottish Government at all.
"Despite recognising the need for a transition for the oil and gas sector, the actual support announced for existing workers is dismal. The commitment to local employment for new jobs in low-carbon sectors is voluntary and thus easily disposable in future.
"Nor is there explicit funding or new policies to give workers the access and, crucially, the time they will need to train and retrain. In short, this looks like a missed opportunity to set out a transition deal that works for the people affected and for the planet."
Luke Murphy and Josh Emden are available for interview
- David Wastell, Head of News and Communications: 07921 403651 email@example.com
- Robin Harvey, Digital and Media Officer:07779 204798 firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. The IPPR paper, Net Zero North Sea: A managed transition for oil and gas in Scotland and the UK after Covid-19, by Josh Emden, Luke Murphy and Russell Gunson is available at: http://www.ippr.org/research/publications/net-zero-north-sea
2. Among the report’s 27 recommendations are that the two governments should jointly:
- Set clear five-year targets to reduce oil and gas production, consumption and export, in line with overall net-zero targets and the Paris agreement. At present 80 per cent of UK oil and 20 per cent of gas is exported.
- Remove or amend the law requiring companies to extract the most oil and gas they can from the North Sea- known as “maximum economic recovery” - and instead cap how much they can extract. This should be used to prevent the UK from exporting surplus oil and gas that would generate carbon emissions abroad.
- Reform CEOs’ duties to include environmental obligations, with fully transparent reporting and pay and bonuses linked to long-term environmentally sustainable activity.
- The UK government should close the investment gap of around £30 billion a year in this parliament in zero-carbon and climate-compatible industries, to meet its net-zero commitment, secure a just transition and restore nature. Further investment is needed in decommissioning, offshore wind, energy efficiency retrofitting, sustainable transport, hydrogen fuel and carbon capture and storage (CCS) plants.
- Work with local councils in oil and gas regions to invest in new infrastructure projects like the pilot Acorn hydrogen and CCS project in north-east Scotland, expanded ports to service offshore activity and better broadband and transport links. Investment should also aim to develop low-carbon clusters of industry, such as in Grangemouth and Teesside, and to expanding academia and technical colleges to support them.
- Set up skills academies for existing workers at an annual cost of £40m in Scotland and £63m in England, to develop the new skills needed for some of the developing industries.
- Create a Low Carbon Wealth Fund for Aberdeen and wider Aberdeenshire, as part of the Aberdeen City Deal, to support low-carbon projects tailored to local needs and opportunities.
3. The cross-party IPPR Environmental Justice Commission was created in 2019 with the aim of working with people across the UK to develop policies and ideas that will tackle the climate crisis and restore nature as quickly and fairly as possible. The commission is co-chaired by Hilary Benn MP, Laura Sandys and Caroline Lucas MP, leading politicians from the Labour, Conservative and Green Parties. Find out more here: https://www.ippr.org/environment-and-justice
4. IPPR is the UK’s pre-eminent progressive think tank. With more than 40 staff in offices in London, Manchester, Newcastle and Edinburgh, IPPR is Britain’s only national think tank with a truly national presence.www.ippr.org
Latest News from
The King's Fund responds to the Government's adult social care White Paper02/12/2021 09:35:00
Sally Warren, Director of Policy at The King’s Fund commented on the publication of the government’s adult social care reform White Paper, People at the Heart of Care
CMA order for Meta to sell Giphy could undermine digital trade and innovation, says IEA regulation expert01/12/2021 10:10:00
Victoria Hewson, Head of Regulatory Affairs at free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, commented on the news that Facebook’s parent company, Meta, has been ordered to sell Giphy by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority
JRF responds to extension of Scottish Child Payment30/11/2021 15:15:00
JRF responds to the Scottish Government's plan to double Scottish Child Payment for children under six from April, and all eligible children under 16 by the end of 2022.
New ‘pingdemic’ could cost economy at least £2 billion, says economist30/11/2021 11:35:00
Julian Jessop, Economics Fellow at free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, commented on the planned reintroduction of some Covid measures
IFS - Education spending changes put a major brake on levelling up30/11/2021 10:35:00
The cuts to education spending over the last decade are effectively without precedent in post-war UK history, including a 9% real-terms fall in school spending per pupil and a 14% fall in spending per student in colleges.
Scrap energy price cap to prevent further bailouts, says IEA Analyst26/11/2021 10:35:00
Andy Mayer, Environment, Energy and Infrastructure Analyst at free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, commented on the £1.7bn taxpayer bailout of Bulb Energy
The King’s Fund responds to the Health and Care Bill workforce vote24/11/2021 16:25:00
Richard Murray, Chief Executive of The King’s Fund, commented on MPs voting against a plan to require the publication of health and care workforce projections
IFS - English universities ranked on their contributions to social mobility – and the least selective post-1992 universities come out on top24/11/2021 12:10:00
Universities are seen as crucial engines of social mobility, and perhaps with good reason. Individuals eligible for Free School Meals (FSM) in year 11 who attended university are almost four times more likely to be amongst the highest 20% of earners at age 30 than those who did not, and around ten times more likely if they attended one of the four most selective universities in the country.