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Environmentalists warn against ‘dangerous’ new North Sea oil and gas exploration

ENVIRONMENTAL campaigners warned today against the “dangerous” move to open up new areas of the North Sea for exploration by oil and gas firms.

The British government has recently committed to reaching net zero emissions by 2050, however the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) — which became a government company in 2016 — announced the latest round of licensing applications.

A total of 768 blocks or part blocks are being made available for exploration in different areas of the UK Continental Shelf.

The OGA argues oil and gas will “remain an important part of our energy mix for the foreseeable future.”

However World Wildlife Fund Scotland director Lang Banks said the move undermines efforts to tackle the climate emergency and is “totally irresponsible.”

He said: “We instead need to see a just transition that enables us to harness the engineering skills currently deployed in the oil and gas industry and apply them to supporting a range of cleaner forms of energy production.

“The science is clear. To reduce the risk of dangerous global climate change, the vast majority of known fossil fuel reserves need to be left in the ground unburned.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Green Party said: “Given that the UN has said we have 11 years before climate change becomes irreversible, this decision is unsustainable and dangerous.

“If we are serious about tackling the climate emergency head-on, a just transition needs to start right now, not after we’ve extracted every last bit of oil and gas.

“There needs to be an acknowledgement from government and industry that maximum economic extraction of oil and gas cannot happen if we’re going to turn this around.”

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