U.K. rejects alliance seeking fixed date on fossil fuel phaseout

COP 26 in Glasgow, Scotland Source: iStock/Mark Lowery

The U.K. won’t join an alliance of countries fixing a date to phase out fossil fuel production, in a move that calls into question the COP26 host nation’s climate leadership. 

The Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance is being spearheaded by the governments of Denmark and Costa Rica and is expected to announce new member countries on Wednesday at the climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland.

Limiting oil and gas production is one of the key priorities for capping global warming at 1.5-degrees Celsius. Earlier this year, the International Energy Agency said no new oil and gas fields should come online if a climate crisis is to be averted.  

But the U.K. ­– which recently had to contend with record-high natural gas prices – says it won’t back the alliance because ending fossil fuel production could cause a cliff edge in energy supply.

“No other significant oil and gas producing nation has gone as far as the U.K. in supporting sector’s gradual transition to a low carbon future,” a spokesperson said in a statement.

“While the U.K.’s reliance on fossil fuels continues to fall, there will continue to be ongoing but diminishing need for oil and gas over the coming years while we ramp up renewable energy capacity.”

The U.K.is seeking to become climate neutral by 2050 and in March announced a plan to decarbonize oil and gas production in the North Sea. 

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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