March 10, 2022
The Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP
The Prime Minister
10 Downing Street
10 March 2022
Dear Prime Minister
Your ref: TOB2022/04585
Thank you for the reply to our letter written by BEIS on your behalf (which we enclose below).
In the letter you have sought to justify investment in new fossil fuel supply projects, but have done so without reference to the expert advice from the International Energy Agency, the United Nations and the entire scientific community that such investment is inconsistent with keeping 1.5˚C alive.
It would appear that you know, investment in new fossil fuel supply projects jeopardises the future of humanity, but you propose to encourage it anyway.
While the BEIS response refers to the “independent Climate Change Committee” (which is funded by central government), it omits to mention the CCC’s letter to the Business Minister of 24 February 2022, which says:
“An end to UK exploration would send a clear signal to investors and consumers that the UK is committed to the 1.5°C global temperature goal. That would also help the UK in its diplomatic efforts to strengthen climate ambition internationally …”.
Now it appears you are seeking to exploit the war in Ukraine to justify your position. As reported in The Times on 7 March, under the headline “Boris Johnson’s call to relax green target”:
“Boris Johnson believes the West should be given a “climate change pass” to help wean the EU off Russian gas supplies ….”
If the war in Ukraine shows anything it is that a future in which we are beholden to petrostates and dictators is no future at all. The humanitarian response to this crisis is not more oil and gas, but less.
Climate collapse means we must wean ourselves off all oil and gas, including that extracted in the UK without delay. A “climate change pass” after decades of dithering and procrastination, is a death sentence for our young people. Neither you nor the Government has a democratic mandate for such a step.
The ordinary people of this country have come together to face the challenge of national crises before and we will do it again. Across all our differences in these difficult times, the vast majority of the public are united by the will to survive and the desire to pass on the flame of life undimmed. We stand together.
Supporters of Just Stop Oil will take reasonable, proportionate measures in defence of our young people, and all those on the frontline of climate collapse in the UK and around the world. We will do so until the UK government makes a statement that it will immediately halt all future licensing and consents for the exploration, development and production of fossil fuels in the UK. Failure to do so is to abandon 1.5˚C, which is humanity’s lifeline, and with it our country.
Just Stop Oil.
BEIS CORRESPONDENCE UNIT
Cabinet Office Secretary
Enclosure: Letter from BEIS to JSO dated 1st March
Our ref: TOB2022/04585
1 March 2022
Just Stop Oil
Email: [email protected]
Thank you for your letter of 23rd February, regarding the use of fossil fuels in the UK. As I hope you will appreciate, the Prime Minister receives significant volumes of correspondence on a daily basis, and, regrettably, is unable to respond to each one personally. Therefore, I have been asked to respond on their behalf.
As the UK moves towards net zero, oil and gas will play a smaller role in meeting UK energy demand. However, it will continue to play an important role. The UK Continental Shelf is a mature oil and gas basin where production is declining. This rate of decline is expected to be broadly in line with the UK’s domestic demand as it transitions to cleaner sources of energy. The UK is expected to remain a net importer of both oil and gas throughout, even if new fields are developed. This means that a faster decline in UK production would result in the UK importing more oil and gas from other countries on a net basis. As the independent Climate Change Committee acknowledges, the transition to non-fossil forms of energy cannot happen overnight.
The Government remains committed to the domestic offshore oil and gas sector, which continues to keep people warm, fuel their cars and strengthen security of supply while the UK grows its renewables sector. The Government will introduce a climate compatibility checkpoint, which will be used to assess whether any future licensing rounds remain in keeping with the UK’s climate goals.
The updated Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) Strategy includes a requirement for industry to take appropriate steps to support the delivery of the net zero target. Under the strategy, the OGA has introduced new expectations on how North Sea oil and gas assets will be managed in the least polluting way. The OGA and the Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning (OPRED) will hold industry to account on emissions reduction targets by tracking and monitoring performance.
We are considering how best to ensure we have a future coal mine licensing regime that is compatible with our broader net zero and climate change goals. This may include changes to current legislative arrangements to meet those ambitions.
Coal mining itself in the UK has been in long term decline reflecting falling domestic demand and there are only a handful of operational mines remaining in the UK. Our Net Zero Strategy makes it clear that coal has no part to play in our future power generation which is why we are phasing it out of our electricity by 2024 – a year earlier than planned. Coal’s share of our electricity supply has already declined significantly in recent years – from almost 40% in 2012 to less than 2% in 2020.
Thank you for taking the time to write, I hope you find this information useful.
BEIS CORRESPONDENCE UNIT