Despite the growing urgency to meet the government’s climate goals, UK government ministers have held closed-door meetings with fossil fuel and biomass energy producers roughly nine times more often than they meet with companies involved in clean energy production.
An analysis of public data from environmental research group DeSmog showed that the Minister of Business, Energy and Industry Strategy (Beis) held 63 closed meetings with ministers and advisors of fossil fuel and biomass energy producers in the presence of a company. Between July 22, 2019 and March 18, 2021.
Ministers and his deputy ministers, including business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, held only seven closed-door meetings with renewable energy generators during the same period.
The meeting did not take place even though the prime minister declared in October last year to promote offshore wind power as the core of the 10 plans to achieve net emissions.
Pastors attended small private meetings as well as hundreds of other large group meetings with fossil fuel companies and their representatives. Fossil fuel producers were at 309 of these and renewable energy producers at 60.
According to DeSmog analysis, ministers held at least 473 meetings on fossil fuels, but only 317 on renewables. Shell and BP attended 57 and 58 ministerial meetings respectively during that period.
Connor Schwartz, climate director for Friends of the Earth, said ministers are showing that the UK is not focused on the required low-carbon transition. Glasgow this November.
He said the government can learn a lot about government based on companies that show where their priorities and loyalty are with these many meetings with the fossil fuel industry.
As we start the Glasgow climate talks, this government must stop Britain’s support for fossil fuels. [fossil fuel] Industry by filling the diary with this number of meetings and excluding renewable sectors.
A government spokesperson said: “These allegations are absurd. We do not apologize for meeting key energy suppliers and employers during the global pandemic. However, these numbers are very selective and small snapshots of our private meetings that misrepresent our broader engagement and priorities.
This year alone, it created and secured 2,400 jobs through a record investment in a total of 450 million wind power. We also announced a world-leading hydrogen strategy, launched a new UK ETS, and committed $1 billion in funding to halt coal power generation and support carbon capture development by 2024.
The disclosure comes amid growing concerns about the lack of detailed plans for the government to achieve its long-term goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and interim targets of 68% reduction by 2030 and 78% reduction by 2035.
Short-term targets are particularly focused as the UK prepares to host Cop26, one of its most ambitious carbon reduction targets. to achieve such a goal.
The Climate Change Committee, a legal adviser to members of Congress, industry, green organizations and governments, has raised concerns that government policies and actions will not achieve the emission reductions necessary to achieve their goals.
Beis’s meeting with the energy industry demonstrates a strong interest in biomass power generation, which produces energy by burning wood instead of fossil fuels. This practice is condemned by many green groups because it can involve cutting down forests to feed power plant boilers. While the practice advocated by proponents claims to be carbon neutral over time, opponents point out that this practice generates emissions during carbon uptake. Trees develop over several decades. There are also concerns about potential air pollution and impacts on wildlife and forest biodiversity when biomass is used on a large scale.
Drax operated one of the largest coal-fired power plants in Europe, but turned it into one of the largest consumers of wood for combustion. Most of them are imported from Canada. Drax met with the minister on 31 occasions during the investigation, including Kwarteng’s visit to a major power plant in Yorkshire.
The full schedule of the Beis meeting, as well as meetings with Kwarteng and his subordinate ministers, including Anne-Marie Trevelyan, included a meeting previously held by Alok Sharma, the Cabinet Secretary currently in charge of the Cop26 talks, as Business Secretary. And a handful with Greg Clark, chief of staff under Theresa May.
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