Duty to Maximise Oil and Gas a ‘Dangerous Addition’ to the Infrastructure Bill

Duty to Maximise Oil and Gas a ‘Dangerous Addition’ to the Infrastructure Bill
on

The UK’s climate change ambition will be undermined if the duty to maximise oil and gas extraction is included in the Infrastructure Bill, argue environmental NGO, Friends of the Earth and non-profit environmental law organisation, ClientEarth.

Clause 36 will introduce a new legal obligation on current and future governments regarding “maximising economic recovery of UK petroleum”. This puts the bill in direct conflict with Britain’s target to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050.

Clause 36 is not consistent with the spirit of the Climate Change Act and the UK in the context of global action on meeting climate change targets and should be deleted,” Friends of the Earth said in evidence to the Public Committee for the Infrastructure Bill.

Green MP Caroline Lucas has also called for clause 36 to be removed from the bill, arguing that fossil fuels must remain in the ground in order to avoid dangerous climate change.

Potentially Dangerous

And during yesterday’s House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee hearing, former head of the Environment Agency, Lord Chris Smith, said: “If you want a personal view, it is that it’s potentially a dangerous addition to the piece of legislation.”

If this clause remains in the Infrastructure Bill un-amended it will contradict the UK’s legal duty to become a low carbon economy and reduce emissions by 80% under the Climate Change Act.

Meeting the clause’s principal objective—to maximise the recovery of UK oil and gas—means that any petroleum recovered which is used domestically will contribute to an increase in carbon emissions.

Legal Duties

This will impinge upon the Secretary of State’s ability to fulfil the legal duties which he has under the Act,” explains ClientEarth. “It could result in the Secretary of State being unable to ensure the carbon budget is met.”

They continue: “It may result in the Secretary of State being placed in a legally untenable position whereby he is unable to avoid a breach of the Act.

Such a breach would seriously harm the UK’s position as a leader in the fight against climate change. It could also have serious legal and political consequences for Government.”

@kylamandel

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Duty to Maximise Oil and Gas a ‘Dangerous Addition’ to the Infrastructure Bill
Kyla is the Managing Editor for DeSmog. She is also a freelance writer and editor with work appearing in the New York Times, National Geographic, HuffPost, Mother Jones, and Outside. She is also a member of the Society for Environmental Journalists.

Related Posts

on

The fossil fuel industry spends millions of dollars on shaping its image in an effort to block climate action. A new analysis shows a relatively small number of PR firms have aided this campaign from behind the scenes over the last three decades.

The fossil fuel industry spends millions of dollars on shaping its image in an effort to block climate action. A new analysis shows a relatively small number of PR firms have aided this campaign from behind the scenes over the last three decades.
Opinion
on

The fossil fuel industry is pushing for the U.S. government to support methods to capture its climate pollution. But how effective are these "carbon management" approaches, and what are their consequences?

The fossil fuel industry is pushing for the U.S. government to support methods to capture its climate pollution. But how effective are these "carbon management" approaches, and what are their consequences?
on

Marcus Fysh, the MP for Yeovil, also has a stake in two banks that have financed billions in fossil fuels.

Marcus Fysh, the MP for Yeovil, also has a stake in two banks that have financed billions in fossil fuels.
on

A D.C.-based think tank with ties to fossil fuel money claims that shutting down the aging Line 5 pipeline would hurt Black communities in Michigan. Community activists say otherwise.

A D.C.-based think tank with ties to fossil fuel money claims that shutting down the aging Line 5 pipeline would hurt Black communities in Michigan. Community activists say otherwise.