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UK planning to launch watered down net zero strategy in oil capital Aberdeen

The government is planning to launch its revamped net zero strategy from the UK’s oil and gas capital, Aberdeen, in a clear signal of its intention to boost the fossil fuel industry while cutting key green measures, the Guardian has learned. Next week’s launch was originally called “green day” in Whitehall, but has been rebranded as “energy security day” and will focus on infrastructure. Campaigners have called the move a travesty. Plans to extend offshore drilling for oil and gas will be cited as necessary to keep the lights on, and justified by investment in nascent carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, which is as yet untested at scale. The revamped net zero plans, including a green growth strategy, will contain major sops to the UK’s fossil fuel industries and will miss out on key green measures. The Guardian has learned that the plans, still under wraps before Thursday’s launch, will include the following: Ministers will refuse to force oil and gas companies to stop flaring by 2025, as recommended in the review of net zero by Chris Skidmore earlier this year. Ofgem will not gain important powers to include the net zero target in its regulation of the energy sector, effectively defanging the regulator. No overarching new office for net zero, as recommended in the Skidmore review. No compulsion on housebuilders to fit rooftop solar to new housing. No comprehensive nationwide programme for insulation of the UK’s draughty housing stock, as green groups have been calling for. Instead, the strongest insulation measure is likely to be a consultation on the private rented sector. The Treasury, the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, and the Department for Business and Trade are at war over whether to introduce carbon border taxes. Major roles for carbon capture and storage technology and hydrogen, which could boost the oil and gas industry with questionable gains for the environment. The potential licensing of a massive new oilfield, Rosebank, under cover of investing in carbon capture and storage technology, which campaigners warn is “greenwash”. Green experts and campaigners were “astounded” at the rebranding of what had been widely trailed as “green day”, and by the plans to unveil it in Aberdeen, the centre of the UK’s oil and gas industry. Tom Burke, a co-founder of the E3G thinktank, said: “This is Fawlty Towers politics – don’t mention the environment! It’s a sop to the right wing. It’s clear this is not a strategy, just an assembly of lobby interests.” He said the UK economy would suffer. “The real problem for the UK is that the US, with the Inflation Reduction Act, and the EU have started the race for a green economy. That race has gone off and we are not in the race. Green day was supposed to be an opportunity to get back in the green race, but this is just supporting [fossil fuel] lobbies.” A last-minute change of venue is still possible, though Aberdeen is the favoured option, and rows are ongoing over whether the prime minister, Rishi Sunak, will lead the launch. The launch next week will include several key elements and involve at least four government departments. Ministers are compelled to publish a revamped net zero strategy by the end of this month, after Friends of the Earth and other campaigners won a court case last year that found the previous strategy inadequate. Green measures in the strategy are likely to include an expansion of renewable energy, includingoffshore and onshore wind – the latter currently in effect banned in England – and it will also include plans to produce green hydrogen. Electric vehicle manufacturing will be a focus, with the potential for a mandate requiring companies to sell more of them, as will heat pumps. Ministers will also respond to each of the 130 recommendations of the net zero review, conducted by the Tory MP Chris Skidmore, and will publish a 70-page green growth strategy, and a green finance strategy from the Treasury. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will also make fresh commitments on the UK’s carbon footprint. While the government sets out its energy security strategy, a decision on a licence for the massive new Rosebank oilfield has reached the desk of Grant Shapps, the energy secretary, the Guardian has learned. If it goes ahead, new estimates by the campaign group Uplift show that Rosebank, expected to cost £4.1bn to develop, could receive an effective taxpayer subsidy worth £3.75bn through tax breaks and the loophole in the government’s windfall tax that spares oil and gas investment. This would mean that Equinor, the Norwegian state-owned company behind the potential field, would pay only £350m to develop Rosebank, which is three times the size of the Cambo oilfield. Equinor made £62bn last year, and about 80% of the oil from Rosebank is likely to be exported, rather than bolstering the UK’s energy security.

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  • Saustine Lusanzu

    63 w

    Other countries should follow the example

    5
    • john linus Tom

      63 w

      Sure , we need to act now!

      3
      • Peter Karanga

        63 w

        It's concerning that the UK is planning to launch a watered down net zero strategy in an oil capital like Aberdeen, given the importance of transitioning to a clean energy future in order to reduce global emissions. It's essential to ensure that all parts of the country are actively involved in the efforts to reach net-zero emissions targets, if we are to truly make a positive impact on the climate.

        5
        • Anon.org

          63 w

          Can't Post This is ⚠️🛢🔥🇬🇧🔥🛢⚠️ #ECOCIDE #lntent #Priors

          2
          • Gorffly mokua

            63 w

            This more of a climate warning!!!

            10
          • George Kariuki

            63 w

            We need to make sure that the government is taking truly meaningful steps to combat the climate crisis, not just paying lip service with watered down strategies.

            3
            • Joseph Githinji

              63 w

              Hope this can be actualised to reach to a sustainable future by 2025.

              5
              • rosebellendiritu

                63 w

                @joseph_githinji No sustainable future can be achieved by 2025,if things explained in this article is anything to go by,they are not supporting sustainable future but rather they are making it more difficult to get to a sustainable future.

                2
                • Joseph Githinji

                  63 w

                  @rosebellendiritu should be a warning ⚠️ the authorities must take responsibility

                  2
                • Patrik Lobergh

                  63 w

                  Shouldn't this be posted as a Climate Warning ⚠️ instead of a climate love??? 🤔

                  10
                • Ajema Lydiah

                  63 w

                  great news

                  2
                  • rosebellendiritu

                    63 w

                    @ajema_lydiah Really???it's contradictory.

                    3
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