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CAMPAIGNERS have announced they are taking the government to court for approving catastrophic plans to develop Rosebank oil field.
Climate group Uplift says the Tories have failed to prove how drilling the largest undeveloped fossil fuel field in the North Sea aligns with their much-touted plans to drastically cut carbon emissions by 2050.
Offshore energy regulator, the North Sea Transition Authority (NTSA), will also face legal action for approving the licences.
The NSTA granted consent to Equinor and Ithaca Energy, claiming it was “taking net-zero considerations into account throughout the project’s lifecycle.”
Uplift executive director Tessa Khan said: “If Rosebank goes ahead, the UK will blow its own plans to stay within safe climate limits. It’s that simple.
“If the government disagrees, it needs to provide evidence and prove it in court.
“The regulator also needs to be open about its reasons for approving a huge oil field when we’re facing a worsening climate crisis.”
Greenpeace, which is taking the government to court in a separate case, argues that the government should have considered the “direct and indirect effects of the use of the extracted hydrocarbons on human health, the environment and climate change.”
The government defines net zero as only including emissions generated by machinery used to extract oil, not the emissions created when it is sold and used abroad.
Greenpeace argues that Scottish ministers were not consulted about Rosebank’s impact on a seabird breeding site and says undersea cables will destroy ocean habitats, and oil contamination will affect whales.
A government spokesperson said Britain’s oil and gas industry “will provide around £50 billion in tax revenue over the next five years,” which it says will “fund our transition to net zero.”
Equinor is set to benefit from a £2.8 million tax break to extract around 300 million barrels of oil from the site, campaigners have calculated.
A Just Stop Oil spokesperson called the Rosebank approval “a catastrophically bad decision.
“It will cook the climate and destroy our children’s future, while doing nothing for energy security or the cost of living crisis.
“Licensing new oil and gas is a crime against humanity.
“Citizens shouldn’t have to resort to legal action or getting on the streets to stop our criminal government from destroying everything we know and love. But if that’s what it takes, it’s what we will do.”
An Extinction Rebellion spokesperson said: “Licensing new oil and gas fields is criminally negligent at this point in history. We need to keep challenging them by all possible means.”
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