Drilling in the Rosebank oil field is a ‘no brainer’ as we bid to keep the lights on - Bill Carmichael

“This is no less than an act of war on life on earth…” thundered environmental activist Chris Packham reacting to the news this week that regulators had given approval for drilling in the Rosebank oil field near the Shetland Islands.

Just when you think the ridiculous hyperbole of the green lobby couldn’t get any worse, they manage to dial the hysteria up to 11, a bit like the mythical rock group Spinal Tap.

Mr Packham also opined that activists were perfectly entitled to break the law in pursuit of their aims, which usually entails middle class eco-warriors stopping working people from getting to their jobs by blocking public transport.

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Mr Packham wasn’t alone in his alarmism. Green Party MP Caroline Lucas said the decision was “morally obscene”, and both Scotland’s First Minister, Humza Yousaf, and his predecessor, Nicola Sturgeon, also condemned the move in the strongest terms.

Campaigners take part in a Stop Rosebank emergency protest outside the UK Government building in Edinburgh. PIC: Jane Barlow/PA WireCampaigners take part in a Stop Rosebank emergency protest outside the UK Government building in Edinburgh. PIC: Jane Barlow/PA Wire
Campaigners take part in a Stop Rosebank emergency protest outside the UK Government building in Edinburgh. PIC: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

I can’t help thinking that if the government is upsetting the likes of Packham, Lucas, Yousaf and Sturgeon, it is clearly doing something right.

Do the climate catastrophists really think all this shroud waving is doing any good? They have been screaming in our faces for 30 years that we are all going to die, and most people just shrug their shoulders.

That’s because they have more important things to think about, like putting food on the table for the children, and paying energy bills that have been massively inflated thanks to so-called ‘green taxes’ that have been imposed in order, so we are told, to save the planet.

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I wonder if Mr Packham has ever accused the Chinese government of declaring war on the planet as it opens two new coal-fired power stations every week, and now has coal power capacity that is six times as large as the rest of the world put together?

Of course not. It is all our fault, as it always is, even though the UK is responsible for just one per cent of global emissions.

Or closer to home the German government, which is burning millions of tonnes of lignite, or brown coal, which is the filthiest fuel on the planet. They have to do this to keep the lights on because Germany closed all its low-carbon, clean, nuclear power plants at the behest of the unhinged and anti-scientific green lobby. Is that “morally obscene” too, Ms Lucas?

That’s right - ‘green’ policies in Germany have resulted in huge increases in carbon emissions. Makes sense, doesn’t it? And these are the people who say we are faced with an existential climate catastrophe.

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In sharp contrast to the likes of China and Germany, the UK has already cut carbon emissions by 48 per cent - faster than any other G7 country - and despite all the shrieking and gnashing of teeth we should not lose sight of the fact that the government is still committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

Rosebank is the UK’s largest untapped oil field with an estimated reserve of 300 million barrels of oil. It will produce 69,000 barrels of oil a day, and about 44 million cubic feet of gas - enough to provide much needed energy security for decades to come.

If the war in Ukraine taught us anything, it is that relying on imported energy supplies is incredibly risky and can lead to shortages and massive price hikes. Far better to produce our own as far as we possibly can.

Furthermore, scientists and engineers tell us that as we transition to a low carbon economy, we are still going to need some oil and gas for many years to come, and exploiting our own natural resources is not only more secure, but also produces lower carbon emissions than importing oil and gas from overseas.

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Just think about that for a moment. If we followed the advice of the likes of Packham and Lucas, we would end up emitting more carbon than we will do under the government’s current policy.

Rosebank will also create 1,600 jobs and billions of pounds in tax revenue to the UK Treasury. Overall, the benefits of drilling in Rosebank in terms of energy security, carbon emissions, jobs and government revenues far outweigh any possible negative impacts. It is, as the kids say, a no brainer.

One of the foremost duties of any responsible government is to secure energy supplies for future generations, and Rosebank is a vital part of that.

If we followed the policies of the green extremists, then one day, in the not too distant future, the lights would go out. And make no mistake if that happens it is the poorest and most vulnerable who will suffer the most.