The UK government’s latest attempt at greenwashing is truly Monty Pythonesque. Having announced their intention to squeeze every last drop out of North Sea oil while supposedly committing to stopping the climate crisis, it has now launched the [Energy] Transition Plan Taskforce. Its remit is to advise companies how they can produce “accurate, robust, and accountable transition plans and avoid greenwashing”. The committee is co-chaired by John Glen MP, economic secretary to the Treasury, who seems unfazed that the chancellor has demanded support for billions in investment new oil projects, whilst he simultaneously wants London to be the world’s first “net zero financial centre”. Likewise, many of the new taskforce’s members are among the corporations that climate campaigners have attacked for their greenwashing. Both the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the UN Secretary General say that new oil investments are incompatible with getting to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Indeed, the UN Sec Gen said such investments were “moral and economic madness”. I reached out to some of the taskforce members to ask whether they were guilty of greenwashing by investing into oil while committing to net zero. I asked Natwest’s CEO Alison Rose whether its £3.25bn investment in oil corporations last year. They replied: “We strongly disagree that NatWest is engaged in ‘net zero greenwashing’.” They did admit lending £3.25bn for oil and gas and up to £550m for coal. But said, “Our lending to this sector has declined significantly – reducing by 21 per cent in 2021”. They added that they had invested £13bn in climate and sustainability funding to date. But in their climate policy’s small print is a commitment to lending to North Sea oil exploration & production.
Independent 24th May 2022 read more »