Right now, most of us are locked into using fossil fuels and forced to pay extortionate heating and fuel bills, all the while knowing that the UK has the best renewable resources in Europe that could supply us with affordable, less polluting energy. Meanwhile, companies like Shell tell us – and our government – that change isn’t possible (yet), while they continue to rip us off.
If Jackdaw goes ahead, it will only meet around 1- 2% of UK gas demand over its lifetime. It wouldn’t produce any quantity of gas until 2025 and production would drop by almost 60% within four years of its peak in 2026.
Burning the gas in Jackdaw, though, would create the same amount of pollution as half of Scotland’s annual emissions or more than Ghana’s entire annual emissions.
Last year, the head of the influential International Energy Agency, Dr Fatih Birol, warned: "If governments are serious about the climate crisis, there can be no new investments in oil, gas and coal, from now – from this year."
When the latest climate assessment by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was released last summer, UN chief, António Guterres, called it a “code red for humanity” that should “sound a death knell for fossil fuels”.
Already, the amount of oil and gas in the UK’s existing fields will – if we burn it all – produce emissions greater than our share of what scientists say is safe for the planet. The world cannot afford to open new fossil fuel frontiers. For the UK, this starts with rejecting Cambo and the other North Sea fields.
We are currently way off track to limit warming to 1.5°C, which is deemed the safest, liveable temperature rise still possible. Burning the fossil fuels in existing projects will push us past this target. Adding new developments, like Jackdaw, will push us closer to parts of our world becoming uninhabitable.
Governments must begin phasing out fossil fuel infrastructure now, including the UK, which is the second biggest oil and gas producer in Europe. We cannot let them approve any more oil and gas projects, including Jackdaw.
Opening up new oil and gas fields means companies, like Shell, will carry on controlling our energy supply for years to come. It will see us locked into a dependency on an expensive, polluting energy source for decades longer than necessary. Shell tells us it has a vital role to play in the UK’s changing energy system but, in fact, its need to profit from oil and gas is what is holding us back.
If we want a supply of affordable energy that doesn’t destroy our climate we need to call out their lies and demand an end to new oil and gas developments and a rapid scale up of affordable, less polluting renewable energy.