UKOOG responds to the CCC’s latest progress report to Parliament on reducing UK emissions

24 June 2021

Today the Climate Change Committee (CCC) publishes its 2021 progress report to Parliament on the UK's path to reducing emissions.

Commenting on the report, Charles McAllister, Policy Manager at UK Onshore Oil and Gas (UKOOG), said:

"As ever, we appreciate the Climate Change Committee's realistic approach in acknowledging that oil and gas will be important contributors to the UK's energy needs for many years to come. It is also of note that this year's report stresses again the CCC's concern that the North Sea will be unlikely to produce enough oil and gas to meet the UK's future demand and additional supply will be needed.

"UKOOG members have for many years offered to generate that additional supply in the form of lower emission onshore production, however on the Government's current pathway of restricting the domestic oil and gas industries, the reality is that the additional supply will likely come in the form of higher emission imports shipped into the UK from Qatar, the US and Russia.

"The Government should heed the CCC's advice on pursuing such a route, for as they state in this latest progress report: 'Given the demand for fossil fuels during the transition, it will be important to consider the upstream emissions from oil and gas production in the UK against those of imports in order to limit the impact on global [greenhouse gas] emissions'.

"This is a particularly salient point as despite a decline in natural gas demand in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the UK's liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports actually increased by 5% that same year. One in four of those LNG deliveries was derived of gas produced from US shale fields. Fracked-for gas that has been supercooled and delivered by ships that have travelled vast distances to UK shores, when one small well-pad in Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire or Lancashire could produce ten times as much gas over its lifetime with a much lower pre-combustion emissions value. Putting aside the irony of such a predicament, this latest progress report should serve as an important reminder to the UK's decision makers that emissions don't respect borders, and outsourcing emissions to other countries and importing rather than producing has a detrimental effect on both our economy and our environmental efforts.

"Indeed, for as the CCC state: 'It is also important to examine the UK's total carbon footprint which allocates [greenhouse gas] emissions along economic supply chains, no matter where in the world they occur. This method allocates emissions to the country where the consumer of the final good or service is based.' Utilising this consumption-based method for measuring the UK's contribution to global emissions would disincentivise the trend to import and help to create a level playing field for UK producers and the supply chains and communities they support. We hope that Parliament will read this report with interest and pay attention to the environmental and economic benefits that domestic production brings."


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