Graham Stuart, the MP representing the area of East Yorkshire around Rathlin Energy’s West Newton oil site, is the new climate minister.
His appointment was announced late on Tuesday (6/9/22). He will attend cabinet and serve under the business secretary, Jacob Rees-Mogg.
Mr Stuart tweeted:
“It is vital that the UK continues to drive forward progress in combatting climate change and I look forward to working with my colleagues @beisgovuk [the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy] and around the world to champion this important issue.”
There had been speculation at Westminster that Liz Truss was preparing to give the climate role to Mr Rees-Mogg, in addition to his business and energy responsibilities. But she reportedly changed her mind after concerns expressed by pro-Green Conservatives.
At the time of writing, Graham Stuart was listed as a member of the Conservative Environment Network.
He has been the MP for Beverley and Holderness since 2005. His constituency contains part of licence area PEDL183, which includes wells at West Newton A, West Newton B and the former site at Crawberry Hill
The constituency also includes part of three licences held by Cuadrilla in 2014 for shale exploration. No drilling has been carried out in any of them.
Last year, in an article on his website, Mr Stuart wrote:
“Climate change is no doubt one of the greatest challenges we will face in this lifetime.”
He also called for immediate global action to limit warming.
In March 2022, in a piece entitled “Please speak out against fracking“, Mr Stuart referred to the government moratorium on fracking in England, introduced after the earth tremors caused by operations at Preston New Road. He said:
“You will be reassured to know that [the moratorium] will be maintained unless compelling new evidence is provided which addresses the concerns around the prediction and management of induced seismicity.”
Later in the post he wrote:
“You may be interested to know that renewable energy is cheaper than gas and therefore the long-term solution is to move away from it.
“I welcome that the UK renewable capacity is up 500 per cent since 2010. However, the Government recognises that more must be done. That is why it is accelerating renewables with annual Contract for Difference auctions. I want to be clear that the more cheap, clean power we generate in the UK, the less exposed we will be to global gas markets.”
In 2015, Mr Stuart voted with the government on the sections of the Infrastructure Bill on fracking.
He opposed a ban on the exploitation of unconventional petroleum for 18 months and a review of the impact of such exploitation on climate change, the environment, economy and health and safety.
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