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Case update 23 January 2024

As the Tories max out the North Sea, we’re defending net zero

Martin Langer / Alamy

The Government has been refusing to publish its assessment of its failing green strategy for months. It’s time to make them come clean.

Last night, Tory MPs marched in lockstep towards the abyss, sending the Government’s reckless Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill over its first parliamentary hurdle with a majority of 82.

If this Bill is eventually passed into law, it would force all future Governments to sell off licenses to explore and extract oil and gas from the North Sea every year.

The Net Zero Secretary suggests that drilling in the North Sea would increase energy security and cut household bills. But independent experts have refuted those claims – about 80% of oil produced in the North Sea is exported to other countries.

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Our Prime Minister has rolled back key green policies and crisscrosses the country by private jet and helicopter. Both the Net Zero Secretary and the Environment Secretary have taken donations from Michael Hintze – one of the early backers of the climate sceptic pressure group the Global Warming Policy Foundation. And an industry leader has declared the Government has made England a “godforsaken” country for onshore wind – one of the cheapest ways to generate clean, green power.

The Government’s path to reaching net zero by 2050 just doesn’t add up. That’s why we are heading to court.

Ministers have admitted they have put together assessments of the ways in which their net zero policies might fail, but have refused to release these “risk tables” for scrutiny from Parliament, experts and the public.

You can’t tell if a policy is working unless you can see the difficulties it faces, so we have a plan to make the Government come clean. As soon as the risk tables are mentioned in the courtroom, we will legally be able to publish them. And then we can all see what the Government has spent seven months trying to hide.

  • Our three-day hearing begins at the High Court on 20 February – part of a wider legal challenge with Friends of the Earth and ClientEarth against the Government over its failing net zero plan. Anything you can give to support our side of this legal challenge will help us make positive change.