Climate Action

UK Government announces it will end support for fossil fuel sector overseas

The Prime Minister has announced that the UK will end direct government support for the fossil fuel energy sector overseas.

  • 15 December 2020
  • Rachel Cooper

The Prime Minister has announced that the UK will end direct government support for the fossil fuel energy sector overseas.

The world-leading policy will see the UK end export finance, aid funding and trade promotion for new crude oil, natural gas or thermal coal projects, with very limited exceptions.

This is a significant change –in the last four years, the government supported £21 billion of UK oil and gas exports through trade promotion and export finance. The policy will be implemented after a short period of consultation and is intended to come into force as soon as possible, and before COP26 next November.

This  announcement will expedite the shift to supporting green technology and renewable energy, creating jobs across the UK and driving international growth in the industry.

The government will work with the UK’s oil and gas sector to support the move to low carbon energy sources through the North Sea Transition Deal, ensuring areas like Teesside and Aberdeen can become global hubs for wind energy, carbon capture and other clean technologies of the future.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "Climate change is one of the great global challenges of our age, and it is already costing lives and livelihoods the world over. Our actions as leaders must be driven not by timidity or caution, but by ambition on a truly grand scale."

"By taking ambitious and decisive action today, we will create the jobs of the future, drive the recovery from coronavirus and protect our beautiful planet for generations to come."

Stephanie Pfeifer, CEO of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC), said: "IIGCC welcomes the UK Government’s announcement to end direct taxpayer support for fossil fuel projects overseas. The global economic transition to net zero will be secured through both the private and public sectors committing to real action."

Earlier this month the Prime Minister announced a new NDC, committing the UK to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 68% by the end of the decade compared to 1990 levels – the fastest rate of any major economy.

The ambitious target is supported by the Ten Point Plan for a green industrial revolution, which will create and support up to 250,000 British jobs by 2030 and make significant strides in cutting emissions across energy, transport and buildings.

In addition to this, the UK Government will also be submitting an ‘Adaptation Communication’ to the United Nations today, setting out what the whole of government is doing to help vulnerable countries adapt and become more resilient to the threat of climate change.