Opening up new oil fields is moral and economic madness - Yorkshire Post Letters
Moral and economic madness – much in the world seems mad at the moment.
Everyone is horrified by our increasing fuel bills; we’re appalled and afraid of economic instability.
We want the Government to do something. So, it might look like opening up new gas and oil fields in British waters is a sensible plan, with clear economic benefits, and bringing us energy security.
But I’m suggesting in this letter that actually that’s not true, and that the rapid expansion of oil fields in the North Sea, like Jackdaw, which the Government has recently approved, is quite the opposite of sensible, in fact it’s just another example of the moral and economic madness that so much of the world seems addicted to.
The gas from Jackdaw belongs to Shell, not to us; they’ll sell it on the open market, for profit – but we taxpayers are giving a £210m subsidy to Shell to develop it. (They’ve already made £17bn in profit this year).
So opening up Jackdaw – or any other gas and oil fields in the North Sea, won’t reduce our bills; it will increase Shell’s profits.
What opening up Jackdaw will also do, however, is massively increase CO2 emissions – burning its gas will release more than half the annual emissions of Scotland.
Last year, the International Energy Agency told the UK Government that we can’t have any new oil, gas or coal projects if we want a liveable climate.
We saw just the very early and beginning traces of what that will mean in the heatwaves of this summer.
Luckily for us, readers of this newspaper aren’t facing famine because of global heating – it’s easy enough for us to turn the page and forget those people
who are. It’s the UN Secretary-General António Guterres who described continued investment in fossil fuel infrastructure
as “moral and economic madness”.
There are alternatives to this open-eyed, profit-driven descent into madness, of course.
We need to unlock ourselves from destructive energy
systems and use public money not to subsidise Shell but to invest in home insulation and renewables, and a just transition to affordable alternatives, with green jobs.
Let’s not career onwards to destruction; let’s plan and work for a flourishing future, where our children and grandchildren and their grandchildren beyond them can look back to us with gratitude for rejecting the moral and economic madness of the current government and its crony corporations.