The following is a letter from our Chairman Jeremy Wight to Jon Pearce, the prospective Labour candidate for High Peak.
You will remember that we met on zoom a few months back shortly after your candidacy for the Labour Party for High Peak Constituency was confirmed. I am writing today to express Hope Valley Climate Action’s dismay at the recent decision to allow the Rosebank oil field to be exploited, and our concern that Labour has not committed to reversing this.
As you know, this decision has been made at a time when the climate emergency is accelerating, and the UN, International Energy Agency and our own Climate Change Committee are all calling for a moratorium on new oil and gas developments. I am sure you agree that it is perverse to be approving a development with the potential for 500 million barrels of oil, which when burnt will release hundreds of millions of tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere.
The argument that oil from the field will be extracted at a lower carbon cost per barrel than elsewhere is specious, since it is the burning of the oil, not the carbon cost of extraction, that is so damaging to our ecosystems and our future. The development will add significantly to global emissions at a time when we must urgently reduce them. It will have no impact on the price paid domestically for fuel, since that is determined by the global market. And the argument that it is necessary for ‘energy security’ is undermined by the fact that the oil will be sold on global markets (it is not of the type refined in the UK), not safeguarded for domestic use.
Indeed, a far better way to secure energy security, because cheaper and not exacerbating the crisis, would be a massive expansion of domestic solar and wind power (both on and off shore).
This being the case, it is extremely disappointing that Labour has not committed to reversing the decision. Given the likelihood of a Labour Government in the not too distant future, an unequivocal statement on those lines would surely stop the investment in its tracks. This would not amount to flip-flopping on policy. Rather, it would show a consistent determination to tackle the existential crisis that we face.
I am confident that I am accurately reflecting the views of the one thousand supporters of Hope Valley Climate Action in deploring the decision. We will certainly be considering all Parties’ policies on the climate emergency when the general election takes place. Please do all you can to persuade your party leadership to condemn the decision and commit to reversing the approval if and when Labour come to power.
With best wishes
Chair, Hope Valley Climate Action
Croft Head, Aston Lane, Hope, Derbyshire, S33 6RA