GMB attacks Labour plans to end new North Sea oil and gas licences

GMB attacks Labour plans to end new North Sea oil and gas licences

The top of the GMB union, considered one of Labour’s greatest donors, has referred to as on celebration chief Keir Starmer to scrap plans to ban all new North Sea fossil gas extraction licences.

Gary Smith stated there was a “nationwide safety crucial” to maintain Britain’s oil and fuel trade alive given the nation will maintain utilizing these fuels for many years even below its “Web Zero 2050” goal.

“It might be self-defeating to not maximise extraction from our personal oil and fuel, and that’s going to be a tough debate however it’s one we’ll should face down,” the GMB normal secretary stated in an interview with the Monetary Instances.

Starmer confirmed in January that the Labour manifesto will embody a pledge to challenge no new North Sea licences, though firms would be capable to exploit websites which have already got present permission from the authorities. That coverage is a part of an formidable “Inexperienced Prosperity Plan” designed to speed up Britain’s progress in the direction of web zero.

However the plan has brought about consternation contained in the GMB, Britain’s greatest manufacturing union.

Smith stated that “strangling” the North Sea oil trade could be “unhealthy for jobs” and could be “unhealthy for the atmosphere” as a result of the UK would nonetheless should import fuel and oil from abroad with a better carbon footprint.

“There’s ethics concerned; are we going to maintain funding these regimes within the Center East and the likes of Russia, or can we take duty for our personal carbon and create jobs and funding right here?” he stated.

Smith additionally argued that the large oil and fuel firms may very well be “very important” in offering funding in renewable vitality tasks sooner or later.

“There’s no level strangling the trade. We have to work with the trade to encourage funding within the inexperienced applied sciences of the long run,” he stated.

Smith stated that Starmer’s crew had been “within the temper to pay attention” to his argument earlier than Labour’s Nationwide Coverage Discussion board meets in the summertime and added that his union would press the case on the celebration’s October convention in Liverpool.

“The temper music within the celebration is completely different,” he stated. “The Labour celebration understands that there’s a nationwide safety crucial round this as properly. Our greatest problem goes to be how we maintain the lights on and maintain properties heated and trade powered over the following decade, we’re one pipeline or one cable taking place away from a critical vitality disaster.”

On Thursday Graham Stuart, the local weather minister, stated the federal government was “dedicated to new oil and fuel licences within the North Sea”, insisting that was suitable with Web Zero.

Philip Evans, local weather campaigner from Greenpeace — which has an ongoing authorized problem in opposition to the federal government’s new licensing spherical for oil and fuel — stated that was an “absurd” place for the minister to take.

“All new oil and fuel drilling is incompatible with 1.5C. Don’t simply take my phrase for it, that is additionally the view of the Worldwide Power Company, the UN secretary-general, in addition to numerous lecturers and scientists,” he stated.

“If the federal government had a shred of curiosity in limiting the consequences of the local weather disaster it might reverse its resolution to permit extra fossil gas manufacturing, and cease propping up an trade that’s destroying the planet.”

A Labour aide stated {that a} Starmer authorities wouldn’t be “turning off the faucets” instantly and would enable firms to proceed to develop North Sea fields the place they have already got licences. 

“Oil and fuel will proceed to play an vital position within the transition to web zero and the abilities and experience of oil and fuel staff will likely be very important as we transfer to completely different sources of vitality,” he stated. “Labour’s plans will . . . ship vitality safety for the nation and good jobs for these staff, together with in clear vitality sources.”


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