Greenpeace calls for new UK oil and gas licenses for the North Sea. By Reuters

Written by Sam Tobin

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s decision to allow new licenses for oil and gas exploration in the North Sea came under scrutiny at London’s High Court on Tuesday, with Greenpeace alleging the government had failed to assess emissions from combustion of extracted fuel.

The environmental organization claims Britain’s failure to assess greenhouse gases from oil and gas consumption – so-called downstream or end-use emissions – makes its offshore power scheme illegal.

But lawyers representing the Department of Energy Security and Net Zero say ministers were not required to assess final emissions, although they did take them into account.

Britain last year held its first round of licensing for oil and gas exploration since 2019, aiming to boost domestic hydrocarbon production as Europe turns away from Russian fuel.

Britain says domestic oil and gas production is key to its plan to improve energy security, and that doing so is consistent with its goal of zero net emissions by 2050.

However, Greenpeace argues that the government should have assessed emissions downstream, as the aim of the new licensing rounds is to provide a secure national energy supply through the extraction and subsequent consumption of oil and gas.

The case runs counter to a similar case brought by the campaign group Uplift, which argues the UK was wrong not to consider new oil and gas licences.

Lawyers representing the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero argue in their court submissions that “any end-use emissions from domestic oil and gas production are likely to be consistent with the UK’s Net Zero targets”.

See also  Cuba and Canada call for strengthening cooperative relations

(Reporting by Sam Tobin; Additional reporting by Shadia Nasrallah; Editing by Sharon Singleton; Spanish editing by Javi West-LarraƱaga)

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