PM sets up oil and gas task force to find way out of energy crisis
Now Boris is plotting his way out of the Net Zero agenda: the Prime Minister is setting up an oil and gas task force to find a way out of the energy crisis gripping Europe and reduce the UK dependence on Putin’s Russia
- PM to set up energy task force to develop UK oil, gas and nuclear supplies
- Two senior industry experts at its helm will report directly to the Prime Minister
- Sources said the task force aims to boost the UK’s energy self-sufficiency in the wake of the war in Ukraine and reduce energy bills.
Boris Johnson will set up an energy task force to bolster the UK’s oil, gas and nuclear supplies as he plots a way out of the energy crisis.
Two senior industry experts at its helm will report directly to the Prime Minister and advise on a fossil fuel-focused ‘transition period’ – as the government signals its clearest move away from fossil fuels yet. Net Zero goal.
Sources said the task force had the twin aims of boosting the UK’s energy self-sufficiency following the war in Ukraine and reducing household energy bills.
Government insiders have privately admitted that the government’s focus on decarbonising the economy by 2050 must be abandoned in the short term.
It comes as the prime minister has stressed the need for Europe to shed its dependence on Russian oil and gas, and ministers grapple with soaring heating costs.
Boris Johnson will set up an energy task force to boost UK oil, gas and nuclear supplies as he charts a way out of the energy crisis
“We don’t want to be at the mercy of brutal dictators like Putin,” a source familiar with the plan said.
An insider said: “Net Zero is dead”. Another said a clear guideline against the ‘green agenda’ and away from Net Zero was set by political strategist Sir Lynton Crosby, who advised the Prime Minister.
Last night a senior Downing Street source insisted the Net Zero 2050 target had not been abandoned and was still the ultimate goal. But they admitted that in the short term the focus will once again be on fossil fuels to ease the pain for British households.
This will include oil and gas from the North Sea and Canada, while hydraulic fracturing is also on the table.
An insider said: “Net Zero is dead”. Another said a clear guideline against the ‘green agenda’ and away from Net Zero was set by political strategist Sir Lynton Crosby, who advised the Prime Minister
The source, however, insisted that “long term, the focus is still the same” on renewables and Net Zero.
The new task force is also expected to produce action plans to boost the UK’s use of solar and wind power and nuclear power – developing ‘more reliable UK energy’.
However, the source added that pursuing Net Zero would be out of “practical necessity, not lofty green commitments”.
The task force will be “very action-oriented”, sources said, with its two experts empowered to “cut” civil service red tape and bring together the Treasury, Department of Business Strategy, Energy and industrial and planning departments. Two candidates – an academic and another involved in energy financing – are in discussion for the positions.
The roles were modeled in part on Kate Bingham, who was appointed chair of the UK Vaccine Task Force in 2020.
Downing Street chief of staff Steve Barclay will chair a Cabinet sub-committee focused on overhauling energy policy.
Last week The Mail on Sunday revealed that Nigel Farage was launching a campaign for a referendum on the 2050 target.
It comes as MPs and peers have urged the government to open the door to commercial fracking to tap into the UK’s shale gas reserves and help reduce its dependence on foreign gas. The calls were backed by Brexit Opportunities Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg.
Sources said the task force aims to boost the UK’s energy self-sufficiency in the wake of the war in Ukraine and reduce energy bills.
Nearly 40 members of the Tory Net Zero Security Group have written to the Prime Minister urging him to stop the concreting of the UK’s two shale gas wells this week.
Officials have been accused by government insiders of being “overly cautious” and “institutional” in their approach to fracking.
Critics say the uncertainty over fracking generating enough power is outweighed by its environmental risks.
The Prime Minister will launch his energy strategy as part of a refocusing on the national agenda. Mr Johnson told aides: ‘We cannot let war become the new Covid.
He is said to see the increased flow of arms from the UK to Eastern European countries to see the Kremlin threat as a chance to boost employment – especially in the Wall seats Red.