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International Energy Self-sufficiency

Volume 721: debated on Wednesday 2 November 2022

2. What assessment he has made of the potential contribution of international energy self-sufficiency to meeting climate targets. (902029)

Home-grown renewable and low-carbon energy are fundamental to meeting climate targets for every country and are key components of energy security and independence, as outlined by the International Energy Agency. The alignment of economic, climate and security priorities has already started a movement towards a better outcome for people and the planet.

If my right hon. Friend supports self-sufficiency, why is the United Kingdom still importing such vast quantities of liquefied natural gas from the United States, especially when two thirds of all that gas is produced by fracking?

I thank my hon. Friend for his question. Of course, it makes sense to ensure that we maximise the albeit declining production from the North sea to this country. To those who suggest—including, it must be said, the separatist Scottish National party—paying billions of pounds to foreign countries to supply gas that we have to have, rather than producing it in Scotland with Scottish jobs, I say that is frankly absurd, as he will recognise.

In the context of the climate crisis, self-sufficiency cannot simply mean yet more new extraction and burning of fossil fuels. According to the UN, Governments still plan to produce more than double the amount of fossil fuels in 2030 than would be consistent with limiting global heating to 1.5°. To help us to assess production against climate targets, will the Minister urge all countries at COP27 to join Germany, France and Tuvalu in giving diplomatic support to the new global registry of fossil fuels that is designed to help us to do precisely that?

I thank the hon. Lady for what she said. Of course, it is important in this country to recognise that, given the Climate Change Act 2008, the fact that production here is from a declining basin, and that our production is expected to fall faster than is required for oil and gas around the world, producing that at home, with lower emissions for our gas than for liquefied natural gas, is a sensible way to go.

I thank the Climate Minister for agreeing to speak at the UK-EU Parliamentary Partnership Assembly on Monday. Does he agree that there is scope for far more co-operation between European nations to ensure energy security and, in the short term, to meet the challenge of Russia’s war of aggression?

My right hon. and learned Friend is absolutely right, and we are seeing increasing co-operation. This summer, we saw electricity exports from the UK while the French nuclear fleet was down. We saw gas exports from the UK helping to fill storage there. We are also looking to renew our co-operation in the North sea co-operation apparatus and a memorandum of understanding on that is expected to be signed soon.

We are often told by the Government that they follow the science. How safe is fracking? Would the Minister want it happening in or near his constituency?

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his question. As the Prime Minister made clear, the moratorium on fracking has been reinstalled, so that is an effective stop on fracking.