UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that the UK will end direct government support for the fossil fuel energy sector overseas
The policy will see the UK end export finance, aid funding and trade promotion for new crude oil, natural gas and thermal coal projects, with very limited exceptions, the UK government outlined in a statement posted on its website.
The government described the action as a “significant change”, adding that, in the last four years, it had supported $28 billion (GBP 21 billion) of UK oil and gas exports through trade promotion and export finance. The policy is expected to be implemented after a short period of consultation and is intended to come into force as soon as possible, according to the government.
“Climate change is one of the great global challenges of our age, and it is already costing lives and livelihoods the world over,” Johnson said in a government statement.
“Our actions as leaders must be driven not by timidity or caution, but by ambition on a truly grand scale,” he added.
“That is why the UK recently led the way with a bold new commitment to reduce emissions by at least 68 percent by 2030, and why I’m pleased to say today that the UK will end taxpayer support for fossil fuel projects overseas as soon as possible,” Johnson continued.
Commenting on the government’s move, Deirdre Michie, the chief executive for industry body Oil & Gas UK (OGUK), said, “the UK is taking a global leading role in how to tackle emissions at home, and we recognize we should do the same abroad”.
Michie also noted that OGUK is in “advanced discussion” with the government on a North Sea Transition Deal “that can provide a model for how an industry can transform in a fair way which creates jobs, boosts the economy, and delivers on the essential policy goal of net zero emissions”.
“In the coming years, with support from the government, our homegrown energy supply chain has the potential to benefit hugely from exporting the expertise it is developing in carbon capture, in hydrogen and in decarbonizing operations,” Michie said.
“We need to be careful to maintain our supply chain’s competitiveness that has built up over decades of North Sea experience, through a period of rapid change. If we are successful, the UK’s domestic leadership can reach around the world, with our industry at the heart of it,” Michie added.