Truss’ energy plans torn apart as PM ‘does not understand’ climate crisis | Science | News

A climate adviser has torn apart Liz Truss’ energy plans and warned that her policies are “completely at odds” with the UK’s target of net-zero emissions by 2050 amid an urgent climate crisis that threatens human survival.

Amid an energy crisis that has skyrocketed bills for millions of Britons as global gas prices were at the mercy of Vladimir Putin and gas prices spiraled out of control, Ms Truss has pledged to help Britain distance itself from volatile international markets , by increasing its domestic supplies.

To that end, it wants to issue at least 100 oil and gas licenses for drilling in the North Sea, while lifting the ban on fracking (the process of extracting shale gas) that Conservatives introduced back in 2019.

However, environmental activists argue that fossil fuels like oil and gas should remain in the ground because burning and extracting the fuels releases harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and accelerates the rate of global warming.

But amid scorching 40-degree heat waves and brutal droughts across Europe that many climate scientists believe are directly linked to climate change, Ms Truss has been accused of neglecting the urgency of the crisis. And this despite an international panel of scientists warning in a report for the UN that the climate crisis is now a “red code” for humanity that can only be averted if the world acts now.

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Sir David King, head of the Climate Crisis Advisory Group, told the Independent: “We are looking at a situation today where the crisis is with us. But we don’t acknowledge that when we say, ‘Let’s go ahead and start new fracking operations in this country.

“It’s incredible. What it seems to show is that the leadership in government does not understand the nature of the climate crisis.”

But Ms Truss did not pledge to completely abandon the UK’s net-zero target, a legally binding commitment that experts say must be met by reducing the UK’s dependence on fossil fuels and instead boosting Britain’s renewable energy capacity.

The Prime Minister told the Conservative Environment Network ahead of her election victory: “I was an environmentalist before it was fashionable, and I accompanied my parents to demonstrations to save our planet from CFCs and damage to the ozone layer.

“In these trying economic times, I will put the interests of people and business at the heart of our Net Zero agenda and harness the full power of free enterprise as a clean, green machine to create jobs.”

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She continued, “I know that in our quest for Net Zero, tremendous opportunities lie ahead for our country. We are at the forefront of the industries of the future, manufacturing everything from hydrogen-powered buses to the world’s largest offshore wind farm.”

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However, the Prime Minister also made comments that perhaps contradicted her previous statements, saying farmers’ fields should not be “full of solar panels”. But arguably the most alarming move Ms Truss has made is the appointment of Jacob Rees-Mogg, who has been accused of climate skepticism, as Secretary of Energy. The move raised serious concerns from environmentalists, who worried about his previous calls to “squeeze every last cubic inch of gas out of the North Sea” and his support for fracking.

Shaun Spiers, chief executive of think tank Green Alliance, told the Guardian: “It matters who sits in the cabinet. Without strong advocates, the net zero agenda will be in jeopardy.”

A group of MPs from different political parties have also sent a letter to Ms Truss, warning her not to risk Britain’s chances of reaching the 2050 net-zero target. The letter said: “The decisions your government makes will have a tangible impact on the lives of people across the country and indeed our entire planet.

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“We hope that you, as Prime Minister, will continue to support action to achieve net zero in this country by 2050 or sooner, while also standing up internationally as a global advocate for climate and nature.”

And while some experts argue gas can be used as a transition fuel as Britain weans itself off fossil fuels and uses its own resources while Putin bleeds Europe dry, Sir David claimed the government is using this as an excuse.

He told the Independent: “The immediate consequence of the war between Russia and Ukraine is that energy prices have skyrocketed. The reaction to that [should be] to build more renewable energy – we can use an extension of an already successful operation.

“The opposite is to say, let’s use this as an opportunity to develop our oil and gas reserves” – use the war as an opportunity to do so, knowing that this has nothing to do with dealing with the short-term problems of the war. All of this points to massive cynicism at the top of government. What they’re saying is, “We won’t be in government in 2050, but we don’t believe in net zero.” has reached out to 10 Downing Street and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy for comment.

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