COP27: Renewables are “insurance against energy dependency” – Rishi Sunak

UK prime minister Rishi Sunak was criticised today for his government’s plans to expand North Sea oil and gas extraction, while promoting renewable energy at the COP27 climate talks.

UK prime minister Rishi Sunak, speaking at COP27 on 7 November 2022.
Photo: COP27

Speaking at the leaders’ summit at Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, Mr Sunak said renewable energy was insurance against energy dependency:

“It is economically right that climate security goes hand in hand with energy security.

“the foreign war in Ukraine, and rising energy prices across the world are not a reason to go slow on climate change. They are a reason to act faster.

“Because diversifying our energy supplies by investing in renewables is precisely the way to insure ourselves against the risks of energy dependency.”

Renewables were also a “fantastic source of new jobs and economic growth”, he said.

But he didn’t refer to plans by his predecessor, Liz Truss, to launch a new licensing round for oil and gas extraction in the North Sea. The offer, still in place, could lead to the award of more than 100 licences next year.

“Need to stand up to the oil and gas industry”

Tessa Khan, director of Uplift, which campaigns for a rapid phase out of oil and gas production in the UK, said:

“We cannot solve the climate crisis without standing up to the oil and gas industry. Yet, the Prime Minister and this government is doing everything it can to ensure that they keep profiting at our expense.

“If the Prime Minister’s words are to have any meaning, he needs to take three actions immediately: first stop approving new oil and gas fields; second, halt the new licensing round launched by his predecessor; and three, stop handing billions in public subsidies to North Sea oil and gas companies.”

Ms Khan said new field approvals and licensing would not make any difference to UK energy bills or UK energy security. She accused the Treasury of actively incentivising new North Sea drilling with subsidies worth billions of pounds because of a loophole in the windfall tax

“If he’s listening at COP, Sunak will hear the warnings that new fossil fuel projects risk our now slim chance of limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees. It falls to him to heed these warnings and act on them.”

North Sea oil and gas “fuel climate crisis”

Friends of the Earth also called for an end of licensing of new gas and oil projects in the North Sea. Its international climate campaigner, Rachel Kennerley, said:

“Rishi Sunak rightly recognises the enormous threat posed by the mounting climate emergency, and the opportunities that tackling it will create, but without much tougher UK action this will count for little.

“His government is still failing to deliver adequate finance to support vulnerable nations to tackle climate change and deal with its impacts, while continuing to help fund a hugely damaging and destabilising gas project in Mozambique, along with new North Sea gas and oil projects, which will only fuel the climate crisis.”

She said ministers should lift the barriers to new onshore wind and roll out a nationwide home insulation programme paid for by a bigger windfall tax on fossil fuel profits.

“With next week’s autumn statement and the upcoming decision on a new Cumbrian coal mine, Rishi Sunak’s government has ideal opportunities to show that climate change really is at the heart of government policy making.”

The Green Party MP, Caroline Lucas, tweeted:

“Rishi Sunak trumpets his plan for “investing in renewables” – is this the same plan that includes banning onshore wind, blocks new solar farms, and a windfall tax with a gigantic loophole for continued climate-wrecking fossil fuel investment?”

5 replies »

  1. Not a very comprehensive insurance, if it doesn’t cover for when the sun doesn’t shine, and the wind doesn’t blow and there is an excess of £160B somewhere in the small print concerning the new nuclear required to cover that!

    Could always resort to third party. That form of insurance has really been working well! LOL.

    Even meerkats could do better.

    Never mind, the USA are going to be supplying vast quantities of LNG to UK which should enable UK politicians to pontificate about the “success” of their policies in providing energy security-until a US politician decides he/she doesn’t wish to continue the deal. I understand one of them may be making an announcement next week. Meanwhile, plenty of opportunities in UK for companies to get rich on providing storage to put US gas under UK ground to be used when needed, whilst the UK gas already under UK ground just sits and waits.

    Noticed at my local garage yesterday the cost difference between petrol and diesel was now 27p/liter! Ermm, cost of living? Cost of another tranche of stupid Government decisions regarding energy policy. If you want to push more diesel use, make sure UK can produce the stuff first.


      Please accept, the UK Fracking dream is OVER.

      Whatever your master ( computer programmer) has lost backing the shale industry , they’ll have to put down to experience .

      Let me repeat, UK Fracking is OVER .

      We must remember, that Fracking is a costly process, that uses a lot of energy/resources to extract a small amount energy…. It really is scraping the bottom of the fossil fuel barrel …… Health wise , environmentally and as far as climate change goes , its DEADLY.

      BOT MARTIN , let’s now move forward to a safer , brighter , greener future supported and spearheaded by the energy industry.

      As we know to be FACT , profits from renewable energy are enormous ….. Wouldn’t it be better not to endlessly imposes government led , short term, sticking plaster , windfall tax grabs on Oil and Gas companies and instead have them comit to invest the equivalent windfall tax money ” immediately ” in to renewable energy projects ????

      That would support 10s thousands of well paid , highly skilled UK jobs and training .

      Be better for the Oil and Gas shareholders , as they will see more favorable returns on their investments, as renewable energy is highly profitable. ( tax grabs are not )

      Be better for the health of the nation and future generations.

      In the longterm , it will help stabilize the UK energy market and bring down the cost of energy for consumers.

      • The safer, brighter, cleaner future with £160B worth of new nuclear to support the unreliable renewables, and without any idea how the radioactive waste is to be disposed of. Nope, it will not bring down the cost of energy for consumers. The data is already there regarding Hinkley Point generation costs. Maybe a windfall tax upon renewables to be directed to subsidizing their nuclear jock strap? Wouldn’t look very cheap or very profitable then.

        Well paid UK jobs? My local solar farm was constructed with Chinese materials plonked in place (pile driving for day after day by a gang of guys who came over from Poland and then disappeared back to Poland with their loot in their diesel Transits.

        The windfall tax is being returned to consumers to help them with their energy bills, Jack*. It is already used, nothing left to add to their existing investment into renewables. Why is that, Jack? Because the energy security that was suggested was a mirage, a lie, and it has fallen upon the fossil fuel companies-those evil beasts-to pay for other’s mistakes. Chesapeake Energy will make a lot of money though Jack as they can frack away and have no need to help those who buy their product. Looks to me that oil and gas companies are making pretty good profits Jack, and the more often idiots at COPs and elsewhere moan about them, the more they will make sure that continues. It will then suddenly be noticed that China is very much in industrial hibernation, and Brent is still around $95/barrel-but probably only when China wakes up from lock downs.

        *Interesting though Jack you just wish consumers to pay the market price for energy. So, bills of £4k/£5k instead of capped at £2.5k. Where is you risk assessment Jack? How many people have you just sacrificed to your dogma? Once more, the anti arithmetic is-anti arithmetic, rubbish that would sacrifice lives.

        [Edited by moderator]

        • OH dear MARTIN ,

          JACK can forgive your ” OPINION ” as you only see life through the eyes of a BOT …. Real , living human beings see things differently.

          MARTIN , you keep banging on about this £160 billion needed for nuclear energy.

          Well MARTIN , let’s see your ” LINKS ” evidence , not your ” opinions ” as to how the UK taxpayer will need to personally spend £ 160 billion.

          Talking about the energy price cap , are you MARTN , right here and now , saying that endless TAX GRABS on energy companies is the way forward ????????.

          WELL for the record, are you ???????

          Let’s remember at this moment, it’s the good old British Tax Payer who’ll be shouldering most of this current £2500 energy price cap in the form of future cutbacks to vital services and Tax hikes .

          So MARTIN again I ask , are you saying that future energy price caps should CONTINUALLY be financed by the Oil and Gas industry , or the good old British Tax Payer ??????????.

          As far as pollution goes , we’ll let’s not forget, it’s proven that Fracking not only pollutes the land and air we breath , it’s highly dangerous to human and animal health, greatly increases climate change , takes a lot of energy/resources to extract a little energy and it greatly devalues homes in Fracking areas ……….. I’d say that’s a good enough reason for permanently banning Fracking

          JACKS above post , Green Energy solution benefits ALL parties to some extent…… Considering how you have repeatedly informed the readers of your knowledge within the marketing industry , I’d of thought the basic A , B , C nursery school level of business strategies would of taught you that ALL PARTIES , whether it be in the boardroom , or opposing armies on the battlefield , need to come away with something for any deal / truce to work.

  2. Solar is a waste of time in northern europe, but wind might work? And it seems the industry now feels strong enough to come clean about some of their exaggerations and inflated expectations – how long till they admit their levellised costs ignore the demands of intermittency and storage? So it seems it’s just a business, like oil and gas, making its pitch as attractive as possible for investment, fending off the competition, seeking handouts, looking to grow, hoping for profits.

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