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Government makes stunning admission about controversial oil field: 'It's purely another gimmick'

"This is a lie."

"This is a lie."

Photo Credit: iStock

An oil field that controversially received the green light in September is under the spotlight again — after the UK government walked back claims about how the harvested fuel would be used.

What's happening?

The Guardian reported on Jan. 4 that oil taken from the Rosebank field will likely be exported rather than used to improve energy security at home. 

Amid considerable pushback from thousands of citizens and hundreds of organizations, the government consistently billed the field as beneficial to the UK economy. Notably, a spokesperson said the project would "help us meet our energy needs." 

However, when answering a parliamentary question, the government admitted that private companies would not be required to use fuel domestically. 

"This government's answer proves Rosebank is not about supplying the U.K. with oil and gas, it's purely another gimmick designed to appeal to a section of the electorate which has no concern for either the future of the planet or their own children," Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle said of the response. 

Why is this concerning?

Rosebank is expected to produce around 500 million barrels of oil over its lifetime. According to the Guardian, burning that oil would generate "as much carbon dioxide as running 56 coal-fired power stations for a year." 

While the UK has made considerable strides in transitioning to more energy-efficient and less polluting technologies, the field's approval seems to contradict its goals of reducing pollution from dirty energy

Adopting clean energy sources, like solar and wind, is vital to ensuring a healthier future. Coal, oil, and gas are the main causes of rising global temperatures linked to extreme weather events, the spread of disease, and possible increases in food insecurity

The UK government's apparent acceptance that oil will not aid in a domestic transition to clean energy, as outlined in the king's speech, per the Guardian, could also mean that electric bills remain painfully high.

"U.K. oil and gas is owned by the companies that extract it and sell it on global markets. New oil fields like Rosebank will only line the pockets of rich fossil fuel firms, it won't help the millions of Brits that are struggling to pay their bills," Alexander Kirk, who works for nongovernmental organization Global Witness, told the outlet. 

What is being done about Rosebank?

In December, Greenpeace and Uplift both filed lawsuits challenging the opening of the oil field, as reported by the Guardian. 

"Rosebank's development was approved under the false claim that it is entirely compatible with the U.K.'s legally binding climate commitments. This is a lie," Greenpeace UK co-executive director Areeba Hamid said at the time. 

The court of session in Edinburgh still needs to decide whether it will hear the cases in full.

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