Tag Archives: north sea oil

Vince Cable: The net zero consensus is over

How do you save the planet when we no longer agree on key measures to save the planet? These questions are posed by Vince Cable in his latest column for Comment Central. As Vince often does, he poses questions that some Liberal Democrats will find difficult, particularly in relation to North Sea Oil licences and relations with China.

Consensus between the parties is key to making long term plans to save the planet, he argues.

He sets out how far the Conservatives have fallen on climate change:

It was Margaret Thatcher who originally embraced the global warming issue and wider environmental stewardship and who demonstrated by championing the Montreal Protocol on the Ozone Layer the force of British leadership. David Cameron (initially) and Boris Johnson continued this tradition. The resigning Environment Minister, Zac Goldsmith, has told us, however, that this Prime Minister is simply uninterested. Or hostile. Or cynically preparing for what I call the CAT strategy in the coming election: climate; asylum; and transgender; a culture war campaign.

He outlines a series of uncomfortable trade-offs that he says we must be prepared to make to get to Net Zero.

One of those trade-offs is cost. Nothing fuels populist anger more than regressive levies on environmental bads. For families whose sole practical, means of transport is an old banger, environmental taxes are resented, no matter the impact on the planet or local air quality. Politicians may choose to press ahead but they cannot ignore the negative side effects. In practice, the trade-offs are more complex. The environmental levy paid on fuel bills to provide support for new renewables was criticised for increasing energy bills but has helped to drive down the cost of offshore wind to a point that it is now consistently cheaper than gas.

He says that nuclear must also be part of the package:

Indeed, hostility to this impeccably zero carbon and energy secure domestic source has been led by the same green campaigners who oppose fossil fuel use. What we need is a portfolio of different, low carbon and secure sources including new renewables, nuclear and carbon capture.

This will cheer those within the party who are challenging our longstanding anti nuclear energy policy. Last year a motion to include nuclear power as part of an energy security package was put to Scottish Conference and referred back.

Posted in LibLink and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , and | 18 Comments

495 Uxbridge voters tip the whole UK climate policy into madness

Embed from Getty Images

Labour’s vote at Uxbridge went down (by-election compared to last general election). Our vote at Frome went up in the same comparison.

Within that context, it is not fanciful to suggest that if Labour had bussed in an extra 10 helpers the day before the Uxbridge by-election, they could well have won it.

So, it is therefore incredibly frustrating to see Rishi Sunak’s behaviour since July 20th.

We have seen “global boiling”, in the words of the UN Secretary General, becoming normal in July. Rhodes burning, Europe melting. The UK, so far, getting off luckily with fresh weather.

Yet, it seems that just 495 voters in Uxbridge have tipped Rishi Sunak (and Keir Starmer) into climate madness.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 17 Comments

Review of North Sea oil and gas

Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, has launched a review of the North Sea oil and gas industry, headed by Sir Ian Wood.

In the Financial Times, Ed Davey is quoted as saying:

I expect it to say tough things to industry, as well as be supportive, and say tough things to government as well. Our offshore infrastructure is getting older, and we are seeing a decline in the rate of exploration and in the amount of oil and gas that is being recovered.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 2 Comments

Willie Rennie on Newsnight Scotland: You have to be cautious when you predict oil revenues

There’s been a bit of a stooshie over future North Sea oil revenues in the last week or so. First, as the BBC tells us, a leaked draft of a Scottish Government report said that volatility in projecting revenues created uncertainty and could lead to spending cuts. Now, Alex Salmond tells us that it’ll all be fine and there’ll be a great big oil boom just as Scotland becomes independent. The SNP projections for the first year of independence are pretty much double what the OBR predicts.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie went on Newsnight Scotland on Monday night …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , and | 2 Comments
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