Sir David King, head of the Climate Crisis Advisory Group, who was chief scientific adviser to the government between 2000 and 2007.said:
The drive for more oil and gas production was “completely at odds” with the UK’s legally binding net-zero target.
Furthermore, it would bring large quantities of greenhouse gas-emitting fossil fuels to the market directly ahead of the 2050 deadline for reaching zero.
He said the plans, announced by the prime minister’s new energy secretary, Jacob-Rees Mogg, were “extremely alarming”.
“We’re looking at a situation where the crisis is with us here to but we don’t recognise that when we say ‘let’s go ahead and start new fracking operations in this country’.
“It beggars belief. What it seems to show is that the leadership in the government does not understand the nature of the climate crisis.”
Tessa Khan the director of the climate group Uplift and co-founder of Warm This Winter, a coalition of charities such as Oxfam and Save the Children and fuel poverty and climate activist groups, which is demanding the government do more to address the cost of living crisis.
She said the government’s apparent intention to double down on oil and gas exploration and push ahead with fracking was “both a challenge and real opportunity” for the climate movement.
“There is so much at stake for people in terms of their spiralling energy bills that it is going to be hard for the government to get away with plans that are obviously not going to address the fundamental cause of the problem and which simply lock us in to the same bust system. This can no longer be dismissed as a campaign about a future abstract threat, it is about the material reality of people’s everyday lives.”
James Hansen who is known as the father of climate science and one of the world’s leading climate scientists has launched a scathing attack on the government’s fracking programme, accusing ministers of aping Donald Trump and ignoring scientific evidence.
He warned that future generations would judge the decision to back a UK fracking industry harshly.
“So the UK joins Trump, ignores science… full throttle ahead with the worst fossil fuels,” Hansen told the Observer. “The science is crystal clear, we need to phase out fossil fuels starting with the most damaging, the ‘unconventional’ fossil fuels such as tar sands and ‘fracking’.””