Net Zero Watch today expressed dismay and profound regret that the incoming Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, has caved in to pressure from eco-activists and the green wing of his own party, and reinstated the ‘ban’ on shale gas exploration in England.
During his recent conservative leadership campaign the new Prime Minister repeatedly promised to lift the fracking moratorium but has now reneged on his pledge.
He had the option of a bold decision to support domestic production of shale gas, potentially mitigating the energy crisis and the UK’s exposure to expensive gas imports.
Refusing this option at a time of a severe energy cost and cost of living crisis is so foolish as to amount to irresponsibility, and bodes ill for the rest of his premiership.
By siding with the increasingly irrational “de-growthers” eco-movement inside and outside his own party Mr Sunak has harmed the national interest.
Those domestic and international investors waiting to develop Britain’s shale gas will undoubtedly be astonished at the Government’s decision, but they know that they must now wait for sanity to return to Westminster.
The PM’s limp and ill-advised decision will only defer and make more acute and distressed the inevitable return to high-quality energy sources, such as fossil fuels. The future of natural gas, including shale gas, remains bright, because it is an integral part of any rational and genuinely sustainable attempt to decarbonise the economy.
No one should be under any illusion that thermodynamically incompetent and unreliable sources, such as wind and solar, can be an adequate substitute.
Dr John Constable, Net Zero Watch’s energy director, said:
Mr Sunak’s first energy policy decision is a blunder; without cheap energy from fossil fuels such as shale gas there is no hope of stabilising the British economy, let alone returning it to healthy growth. On his first day in office he has made grave mistake.”