The UK has no plans to stop new oil exploration, Reuters has reported, citing the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. That’s despite the recent IEA roadmap to net zero, in which the authority said all new oil exploration must cease now if the world is to become net zero by 2050.
“We are working hard to drive down demand for fossil fuels, however there will continue to be ongoing demand for oil and gas,” the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy told Reuters.
“We will not be cancelling licences that were recently awarded. Any future licences are only awarded on the basis that they are aligned with the government’s broad climate change ambitions, including the UK’s target of reaching net zero by 2050.”
The IEA shocked the energy world last week with its Net Zero by 2050 report that suggested the world won’t need any additional oil and gas projects beyond what is already approved as of this year. The report caused quite a stir, not the least of which came from several Asian countries that have high energy usage.
Australia and Japan, as well as Norway, were among the first to voice opposition to the suggestions made in the report, among which the IEA included driving less than 62 mph and setting air conditioning at more moderate temperatures.
African nations dependent on oil revenues will also likely disagree that there is one single path to net zero, and that is the IEA path of no new oil exploration.
All in all, the IEA roadmap features a lot of fascinating changes that our species would need to make to their way of life by 2050, and most of them are already popular enough with various forecasters: a massive increase in electric car sales is there and an equally massive shift to wind and solar power as sources of electricity.
As the agency put it itself, “Achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 will require nothing short of the complete transformation of the global energy system.”
It seems, however, that few nations are ready to commit to this complete transformation, even green energy leaders such as Norway and now the UK.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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The notion of zero emissions by 2050 or even 2010 is an illusion. It will never happen because oil and natural gas will continue to drive the global economy throughout the 21st century and probably far beyond.
Yet, environmentalists who call for an abrupt end to fossil fuels and a sudden adoption of renewable energy fail to recognize the obvious lack of logic in this. It is not possible in this particular reality to simply ditch fossil fuels for renewable energy in what is called a global energy transition.
On their own, renewables aren’t capable of satisfying global energy demand because of their intermittent nature. Moreover, global energy transition won’t succeed without major contributions from both natural gas and nuclear energy. Furthermore, the global economy will come to an immediate standstill without oil.
That is why oil and gas are here to stay well into the future.
Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
International Oil Economist
Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London