Thank you to everyone who wrote to me about Rishi Sunak’s Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill.
In my eighteen years as an MP, I have regularly spoken out about the urgent action that is required when it comes to climate change. That’s why I strongly opposed the Prime Minister’s decision to grant new oil and gas licenses in the North Sea, and it’s also why I strongly oppose this Bill to impose mandatory annual licensing rounds in the midst of a climate emergency.
The Prime Minister claims that these moves are about taking action on the cost-of-living, but the truth is that locking in Britain’s reliance on fossil fuels for another generation will continue to leave us exposed to the mercy of oil price shocks and dictators like Vladimir Putin. And that’s not to mention the hit to our economy from yet more Tory-inflicted damage to the stability and certainty businesses need to invest in our country.
But this decision is actually nothing to do with climate change. In reality, the Prime Minister is desperate and lagging in the polls, and he has chosen to sacrifice the future of our planet for his own political future, in the hope that picking fights with the Labour Party will somehow help him at the next general election. It’s cynical and irresponsible and I don’t think voters will be fooled.
Labour is committed to banning new oil and gas licenses if we are elected, because we believe that investing in net zero is the future – guaranteeing energy security, boosting economic growth and job creation, and saving the planet. As part of our commitment to building a green economy fit for the future, we’re committed to investing £28bn per year by the end of the next parliament in tackling the climate emergency and investing in green industries. That includes our plans to insulate 19 million homes in a decade, double our onshore wind capacity, and triple solar generation. It’s also why we’ve pledged to create Great British Energy, a publicly owned energy company that will invest in British renewable energy, to get us to net zero from energy by 2030, bring down bills, and bolster our energy security.
After thirteen long years of dither and delay on climate change, we urgently need a Labour government who can deliver a bold transition to net zero that delivers prosperity, security, and environmental transformation across Britain.
But until the next election, please be assured that I will continue to push hard for the government to live up to their climate commitments and ensure that the UK plays its role in averting catastrophic global emissions.