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Government announces controversial plan to exploit offshore wind farms for dirty energy exploration: 'It's like using a nicotine patch to roll a cigarette'

"It's hard to think of a worse use."

Photo Credit: iStock

Just when you thought offshore wind was making serious waves, the U.K. government has thrown a wrench into the works.

What's happening?

The U.K. government has announced a plan to allow oil and gas companies to search for new reserves on sites earmarked for offshore wind farms.

Around 30 companies are being granted licenses to look for oil and gas in areas of the North Sea designated for future wind power development, according to the Guardian.

Why is this new plan concerning?

Prioritizing new oil and gas extraction threatens to undermine the U.K.'s progress on clean energy and climate action. Experts warn that any future production this decision enables will generate more planet-warming pollution than the meager savings from powering oil platforms with wind energy, which would put communities at risk of more extreme weather and health issues such as heat strokes and vector-borne diseases

Doug Parr, Greenpeace UK's policy director, put it bluntly: "It's hard to think of a worse use of clean electricity from wind farms than powering the dirty industry that's driving the climate crisis. 

"It's like using a nicotine patch to roll a cigarette."

Investors in offshore wind are already expressing doubts, with some threatening to abandon the U.K.'s green energy sector altogether, per the Guardian.

The government's move injects new uncertainty at a time when the world urgently needs a decisive shift to renewable power.

What's being done about this plan?

Critics are speaking out against this decision and urging the government to reconsider.

The U.K.'s former "net zero champion" Chris Skidmore called it a "deeply irresponsible and divisive move" that goes against expert advice, as the Guardian reported.

He argues that investments should go to more wind and renewables instead of prolonging the oil industry.

Better solutions that benefit both people and the planet are out there. Offshore wind is already cheaper than oil and gas — the smart choice is to double down on this clean energy resource, not undermine it by opening the door to more polluting fuels. With a major climate summit coming up this year, the U.K. has an opportunity to lead by example and prove its commitment to a greener future.

The public has a voice in this, too. By calling on leaders to reverse this decision and focus on renewable energy instead of oil and gas, we can all help build the clean-powered world we want to see.

When people come together and demand better solutions, positive change is possible.

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