Climate warning
Image of UK Government Investments

UK Government Investments

Climate warning

UK tops list for fossil fuel sites in nature protected areas

Fossil fuel extraction and exploration is taking place at almost 3,000 sites in protected areas around the world, analysis has revealed, with the UK having the highest number of fossil fuel sites in protected areas. Globally, the activities affect more than 800 areas established to defend nature. The coal, oil and gas at the fossil fuel sites would lead to 47bn tonnes of climate-heating carbon dioxide if fully exploited, four times the annual emissions of China, the world’s biggest polluter. The sites included are oil and gas operations, coalmines, fossil fuel sites in development and those with exploration licences. “Every single one of these sites is a sign of hypocrisy, saying on one hand that this area is worthy of protection and then on the other hand, bringing fossil fuel extraction into those same areas,” said Alice McGown, a geographic information expert at the Leave it in the Ground Initiative (Lingo), which produced the study. The analysis also assessed the potential CO2 emissions from fossil fuel activities in protected areas for each country, with China, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia making up the top three and the UK, Australia, US and Canada all in the top 12.Affected areas include marine protection areas in the UK, the Arctic national wildlife refuge in the US, Canada’s Rocky Mountain parks, and the Coongie Lakes in South Australia. China’s Xilin Gol natural steppe protected area and the Jubail marine wildlife sanctuary in Saudi Arabia also contain fossil fuel activities. The United Arab Emirates will preside over the UN’s annual climate summit in November and December and is also in the top 12 countries, with oil and gas activities in the Marawah biosphere reserve, which is a refuge for dugongs, sea turtles and corals. At 509, the number of fossil fuel sites in UK protected areas is more than any other country, according to the analysis, with most in the North Sea. It found 170 oil and gas sites in the southern North Sea Ospar marine protected area and further sites in the north Norfolk sandbanks, Saturn reef, and Liverpool Bay protected areas. The Faroe-Shetland sponge belt Ospar area is also an area of major fossil fuel exploitation. Onshore in the UK, the South Downs national park hosts nine oil and gas sites, with other sites in the area of outstanding natural beauty in Lincolnshire Wolds and the North York Moors national park. “Britain has many offshore extraction sites within internationally recognised protected areas in the North Sea and what’s really worrying is that they’re developing even more right now,” said McGown. fb-messenger://share?link=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theguardian.com%2Fenvironment%2F2023%2Fmay%2F10%2Fuk-tops-list-for-fossil-fuel-sites-in-nature-protected-areas%3FCMP%3Dshare_btn_me&app_id=180444840287

Do you agree?

6 more agrees trigger contact with the recipient

  • Videlis Eddie

    55 w

    This is so sad

    1
    • Rukia Ahmed Abdi

      57 w

      this is absurd

      5
      • Elizabeth Gathigia

        57 w

        Really disappointing

        7
        • Daniel Waweru

          57 w

          Action should be taken

          4
          • Evangeline Wanjiru

            57 w

            Why is no action being taken?

            7
            • johnte ndeto

              57 w

              So sad my people

              4
              • Munene Mugambi

                57 w

                The UK government should revise their fossil fuel policies

                3
                • Ajema Lydiah

                  57 w

                  this is really bad

                  12
                  • Tabitha Kimani

                    57 w

                    What is wrong with the UK? They are really doing badly in the fight against climate change.

                    12
                    • ance Star

                      57 w

                      The government of UK should check on this matter to reduce the use of fossil fuels and come up with better alternatives of using clean energy

                      2
                      Welcome, let's solve the climate crisis together
                      Post youtube preview with preloading
                      youtube overlay

                      Write or agree to climate reviews to make businesses and world leaders act. It’s easy and it works.

                      Write a climate review

                      Voice your opinion on how businesses and organizations impact the climate.
                      0 trees planted

                      One tree is planted for every climate review written to an organization that is Open for Climate Dialogue™.

                      Download the app

                      We plant a tree for every new user.

                      AppleAndroid