As the Oil and Gas Authority continues to work with industry to develop a single, compelling vision for the UK oil and gas industry, it is important to ensure that the Vision adequately addresses the threats and opportunities created by the transition to a low carbon future.
The forthcoming referendum on membership of the EU on 23 June has major implications for energy and climate policy, and the UK’s transition to a low carbon economy.
EU energy policy is progressive, long term and focused on an effective energy transition to a low carbon future. It has been shaped by input from member states including significant input from several UK Governments. This ensures that EU energy policy is not subject to change every UK electoral cycle, unlike much of UK domestic energy policy.
If the fossil fuel energy sector thought things were tough now, they could be about to get much worse, unless it takes decisive action.
Although many people may not have given December’s climate change summit in Paris (COP21) more than a cursory glance, the agreement made by almost 200 countries to keep global warming below 2°C could change the face of the industry within little over a decade.
Following agreement to constrain global warming to ‘well below 2°C’ at COP21 in Paris, businesses, as well as governments, will be obliged to demonstrate how they will be 2°C compliant.
After two weeks of intense negotiations and lobbying, the agreement reached by the global community at COP21 in Paris sets an agreed target to constrain global average temperature rise to ‘well below 2°C’, with an ultimate target of 1.5°C. It is clear that with voluntary commitments made by many of the world’s nations in Paris resulting in a predicted temperature rise of 2.7°C, much more is yet to be done.
The announcement on the 6th November that ExxonMobil are to be investigated by the New York state attorney-general for misleading the public and investors regarding climate change risks, marks the start of a new chapter in the need for oil and gas companies to face up to the reality of climate change.