POLL: Do you back Sunak’s plan for more oil drilling in the North Sea?

Rishi Sunak on carbon capture scheme and energy contracts

Back in 2021, Boris Johnson’s Conservative Government pledged all sectors of the UK economy would be carbon neutral by 2050 – all the CO2 emitted being compensated for by carbon capture projects.

In Aberdeenshire on Monday, Rishi Sunak claimed his decision to grant a further 100 production licenses in the North Sea this autumn was “entirely consistent” with this initiative.

On the one hand, issuing new permits does not necessarily mean the extraction of oil and gas will take place. On the other, the Prime Minister made the case that even when net zero was reached, a quarter of the UK’s energy needs would still be met by hydrocarbons.

He said expanding domestic drilling was “the right thing to do” because imported supplies had “two to three times the carbon footprint of what we have got at home.”

The decision is also a political one – one that puts daylight between the Conservatives and Labour, at a time when voter discomfort over green policies like the ULEZ expansion is being felt in the polls.

READ MORE: ‘Another HS2’ Sunak blasted over North Sea oil drilling announcement

Campaigners, however, have said that leaning further into fossil fuels from the North Sea was akin to sending a “wrecking ball through the UK’s climate commitments”.

Shadow climate change secretary Ed Miliband accused Mr Sunak of resorting to “culture war on climate” to make up for “13 years of failed Tory energy policy”.

The same day, Number 10 also confirmed four carbon capture projects would share £20billion in funding over the coming years – the Acorn Project in St Fergus, Aberdeenshire, among them.

The Government claims this site, alongside one in the Humber, would lay the groundwork for a “thriving clean industry in the North Sea” which could support “up to 50,000 jobs.”

So what do YOU think? Do you think the Prime Minister’s plans to expand North Sea drilling are right? Vote in our poll and leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

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