The Rosebank oil and gas development has been approved. The folly of this decision is staggering.
Extreme marine heatwaves, government-sanctioned overfishing, and rampant pollution are already ripping the heart out of UK seas. It is against this backdrop that the government has announced it is approving the Rosebank oilfield.
Not only will this spew vast amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere, hastening a climate breakdown that will decimate ocean wildlife and cost countless lives, it will lock us into a dead-end industry that will leave workers stranded and the UK economy lagging.
Damage from drilling and pipelines will destroy extraordinary deep sea sponge communities, ancient cold-water corals and more. A toxic cocktail of pollutants including neurotoxins, microplastic and, of course, oil itself will blight our internationally important marine wildlife, from seabirds to seals.
The government is selling this as a solution to soaring bills and energy security. But the government has also admitted that new North Sea drilling won’t cut energy bills because we don’t own the oil and gas. Relying on an oil giant to sell us the Rosebank fuels for a discount seems naïve in the extreme.
The solution is staring us in the face. In the UK we have an enviable abundance of opportunities for cheap, secure homegrown renewable energy providing stable green jobs. We could be an international leader in this renewable technology while at the same time reaping the benefits of the jobs, savings, thriving seas and, indeed, a future for our children.
To protect our ocean, stabilise our climate, lower bills and improve energy security we need a just transition to renewable energy – starting with an end to new offshore drilling. We need to change course away from one hell-bent on putting short-term profits of corporations at the top of the list of priorities. We need to safeguard our future and that of coming generations. And we need to start now.