Alok Sharma MP, President of COP26, has stated to Sky News that extracting additional gas from North Sea is not a realistic strategy for lowering energy prices for UK consumers.
MPs who created a “Net Zero Scrutiny Group” have been calling on the government for more drilling in the North Sea, arguing this would be both cost- and security-wise beneficial.
Mr Sharma stated that even if you extract more from the North Sea Basin right now, the final price that will be generated is the international wholesale gas price.
“I don’t believe that the idea that you will suddenly change everything, and that this will affect the price of wholesale gasoline internationally, is realistic.
Sharma also dismissed the notion that more North Sea gas would be better protected against Russia’s deliberate squeezing supply.
He stated that “What we need is to do more of what we have done, which is building on renewables and investing in nuclear.
“I think that is ultimately the answer to all of these.”
He suggested that the same formula can solve the cost of living crisis as well as net-zero carbon emission by 2050.
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“I would argue that the best way to keep energy prices low, to ensure you have domestic security supply, to reduce emissions is to keep doing what we’ve done; increasing renewables and baseload. We want to see more investment in nuclear, hydrogen, and other technologies. That is happening.”
Commitments are currently “words on a webpage”
Sharma gave a warning to the international community in his first major speech after the COP26 UN summit on climate change.
He stated that he was certain that the historic commitments made at COP26 are undisputed.
“Yet, for the moment they are just words on paper.
“And unless they honor the promises made, and turn the commitments in The Glasgow Climate Pact into actions, they will wither on their vine.”
“We will have avoided all risks and we will have seized all opportunities.”
“Instead we will have fractured national trust, and 1.5 degrees will slip away from our grasp.”
UK focusing on delivery
One of the key elements of The Glasgow Climate Pact was the agreement by all countries to increase their climate obligations (known as NDCs) before 2022.
Mr Sharma suggested, however, that the United Kingdom may not need to do so.
He stated: “What we have requested every country to do and what they have signed up to is to review their 2030 National Determined Contribution targets for emission reduction to make sure that they are aligned with Paris (agreement).
“What we have heard from the Independent Committee on Climate Change, is that the UK’s NDC aligns with the Paris temperature goals.
“Officially, we will study the science and watch how it develops. But, the key issue is delivery, as the CCC stated. That’s why we’re going after the UK.”