How Rishi Sunak is quietly returning to coal, oil and gas
IIt was just a simple question.
This went largely unnoticed in April when Chancellor Rishi Sunak wrote a letter to the Bank of England saying they should“take account of the government’s new energy security strategy and the important role the financial system will play in supporting UK energy security – including through investment in transitional hydrocarbons such as gas”.
The Chancellor also said investing in fossil fuels would help the government reach the goal of net zero by 2050.
It’s like a drug dealer telling a heroin addict that his help in funding another heroin lab would help him get sober in 30 years!
But what struck was the Chancellor’s choice of words: “transition hydrocarbons like gas”. There are only three main hydrocarbons used in the UK: coal, oil and methane gas. The fossil fuel industry has long argued that gas should be considered a transition fuelto burn instead of coal and oil because it emits less carbon as we develop our renewable energy sources.
Thus, the Chancellor’s sentence posed the question: does he also consider oil and coal as “transition hydrocarbons”? Because if he does, then the whole concept of transitional hydrocarbons becomes even more absurd than it already was. This would mean that the government’s official position was to promote investment in all destructive fossil fuels as “transitional”.
So I posed a simple question to both the Treasury and the Bank of England: did they also include oil and coal as “transitional hydrocarbons”?
The Treasury refused to answer not once but twice, simply referring me to the government’s paper on energy security.
Similarly, the Bank of England declined to answer the question, saying: “We are unable to comment on matters which are for the government to determine, such as the features of the UK’s transition path. United to the net zero or the tools to achieve this. This includes defining transitional hydrocarbons as part of the government’s energy security strategy.
It’s a joke. Especially since the Chancellor wrote to the Bank of England the previous year, to change its mission to one that helps the government achieve the 2050 net zero carbon target. to pour billions into new fossil fuel investments. This money is rather needed for renewable energies, storage and energy efficiency, if we have any chance of avoiding uncontrolled climate deterioration.
Yet the Treasury outrageously claims that this year’s letter calling for the promotion of fossil fuel investment did not reverse last year’s letter calling for action to get to net zero but rather “supplemented” it. !
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Is it any wonder that more and more people – desperate at the way the UK government is siding with banks, oil companies and the media who are intent on destroying our future – are turning to civil disobedience ?
A Just stop the oil The spokesperson told this column: ‘Letters from the Chancellor and Kwasi Kwarteng outlining the UK government’s policy of backing new oil and gas will be used as evidence in their future trials.’
They added: “Planning actions knowing that they will result in the deaths of countless millions and the loss of entire nations is a criminal act of staggering proportions. This was pointed out to them by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who called new investments in fossil fuels “a moral and economic folly”.