Green Party MP Caroline Lucas has written an article in Business Green (paywall), (summary in Carbon Brief) about the pointlessness of the Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill. She points out that annual licensing rounds can and already do happen, so no new legislation is needed; it is just “a political stunt that will harm the UK’s ability to push for high climate ambition on an international stage”….“And the idea that it would somehow deliver energy security to the UK, help the millions of people struggling with soaring energy bills and boost the transition to net-zero, as the government claims, is simply untrue…Not to mention the fact that any oil or gas which is extracted will be sold on the global market to the highest bidder.”
The planet has passed 6 of the 9 planetary boundaries and here in the UK we have just had devastating floods. The recent National Audit Office report highlighted the effect of reducing spending on flood preparedness and the fact that more homes are increasingly at risk from flooding. Now is not the time to push for more North Sea oil and gas development, contributing both to global warming and to the message that it is ok for governments to carry on promoting and subsidising fossil fuel development – if we won’t stop so how can we tell anyone else to?
Takeaway: Governments must enact specific policies that will redirect financial flows to ensure our planet’s continued prosperity.
Full version: As of 2023, humanity has crossed 6 of the 9 planetary boundaries necessary for our continued survival on this planet. Crossing these boundaries increases the risk of generating large-scale abrupt or irreversible environmental changes.
Unfortunately, our current economic system sacrifices nature and human health for quick economic gains. We need to change this harmful way of thinking, and we can do it.
The path forward is clear. We must redirect financial flows towards a thriving and equitable planet.
Governments should swiftly enact subsidy and tax reforms, ensure polluters pay for greenhouse gas emissions, and reform financial systems to cease supporting fossil fuel projects. These policies must align with the science of a 1.5°C planet, requiring a 40% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2030 and true net-zero by 2040. Citizen engagement as well as all human rights must be embedded into the ongoing development of all policies.
This won’t be simple, but we’ll need everyone around the world to work together to make this happen.