News stories this month reporting the UK government’s decision to potentially give the green light to new drilling in the North Sea, at the Cambo Oil Field, and Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon failure to outright condemn the move – saying merely that it should be reconsidered – are yet more disappointing signs when it comes to leadership response to our climate crisis.
Leaders and others in the media state that while the UK still needs oil and gas, it is better for its to be sourced domestically rather than imported from potentially problematic sources. This is a poor argument on a number of counts.
For one thing, it ignores the fact that we need to halt all new fossil fuel developments to stand any chance to success in combating global warming. For another thing, there are no guarantees that UK oil and gas extraction would be responsibly managed.
What is more, this argument misrepresents the relationship between UK oil production and domestic consumption. Oil is a globally traded commodity, and the UK, though it is a net oil importer, exported more than 81% of crude oil produced. This great article explains this in more depth.
Where leadership fails, however, we cannot just shrug our shoulders and shake our heads. We all have a duty to hold our leaders to account, and to actively engage with politics and activism to make sure we are all, collectively, headed in the right direction. We all have a role to play in making sure we have climate justice, and a greener future.