Greenwashing the Tories

6 Jan 2024
Scottish oil rigs

Last year the government announced it was going to allow new drilling for oil in the North Sea . It claimed the move would improve energy security something we disputed given any output would be sold in the international market sending mixed messages about our countries objective of net zero emissions by 2050 ( see Someone's fibbing - Babergh Liberal Democrats (

It is ironic in the week in which in Suffolk we had as much rain as in a normal month and the wettest winter in 130 years and the Met Office saying climate change will make such wet winters more common in the future that these claims have been shown to be untrue

Firstly in a written answer to a parliamentary question the government now accepts that the private companies extracting the oil will sell the vast majority internationally, saying: “It is not desirable to force private companies to ‘allocate’ oil and gas produced in the North Sea for domestic use”.

Then more definitive criticism came with the surprise resignation of Tory MP Chris Skidmore – the former net zero tsar and former energy minister . In a statement posted on X Mr Skidmore said: “As the former energy minister who signed the UK’s net zero commitment by 2050 into law, I cannot vote for a bill that clearly promotes the production of new oil and gas.

“To fail to act, rather than merely speak out, is to tolerate a status quo that cannot be sustained. I am therefore resigning my party whip and instead intend to be free from any party-political allegiance.”

So there you have it. If like us you are worried by the impact of climate change you have two Conservative MPs saying in different ways that you cant trust the Tories to effectively address the issue. Zac Goldsmith a Tory Peer with whom politically we have many differences other than his passion for environmental issues summed it up perfectly when he too resigned from the government last year. He said ‘The problem is not that the government is hostile to the environment, it is that you, our Prime Minister, are simply uninterested. ‘That signal, or lack of it, has trickled down through Whitehall and caused a kind of paralysis.’


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