Alok Sharma: “Government must explain how new oil and gas is consistent with net zero”

The COP26 was questioned by MPs on progress in fighting climate change just a few hours before leaving his ministerial role

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The COP26 President has said the government has to demonstrate how new oil and gas exploration projects are in line with the UK’s legally binding climate targets.

Speaking to MPs in the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, Alok Sharma said: “In terms of new oil and gas licences, I think what the UK Government, indeed every government, has to demonstrate is how are the policies that we are putting forward consistent with legally binding commitments on, in our case, getting to net zero by 2050, or indeed our near-term carbon budgets.”

New data from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy shows that the UK might miss its climate targets by 2030.

Mr Sharma added: “The onus is very much on the government to explain and demonstrate how any of these policies are indeed consistent with the legally binding commitments.”

Yesterday, it was announced that as part of the new government’s reshuffle, Alok Sharma will remain the COP26 President but he will no longer attend Cabinet meetings.

Earlier this month, the government launched licensing round for new oil and gas projects.