Activists demand an end to new oil and gas licenses – and a green jobs revolution

The government wants to be a global climate leader. So why is it still granting licenses to climate-wrecking oil and gas projects in the North Sea?


The government will be making decisions about the future of North Sea oil and gas over the next month. 

So Greenpeace activists took to the streets of Westminster to send a message to the energy minister, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, to stop granting new oil and gas licences and kickstart a green jobs revolution.

Two women in hi-vis mounting signage on a lamp post. The sign is red and shaped like a stop sign, reading Stop new oil licenses. A red London bus and Parliament Square are in the background.

Greenpeace UK activists place signage opposite the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS department) demanding a stop to new licences for oil and gas extraction in UK waters. © Luca Marino / Greenpeace

Their message was clear: to get out of the climate crisis, this government must stop issuing new oil and gas licences. 

They also have a responsibility to protect oil and gas workers who have helped power the UK for over two generations. 

The government can do this by investing in renewable energy and retraining workers in the coastal communities which have long relied on the oil industry.

A building with three full-height, long windows plastered with a message to the energy minister. The blue, red and green posters have the energy minister's face, a map of the UK and an arrow on them, and read 'Dear energy minister. Stop new oil licenses. Retrain oil workers. Invest in renewables and the final green poster with the arrow points to the previous list, reading 'Your Roadmap for a Just Energy Transition'

Posters opposite the BEIS department, calling on the Energy Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan to stop new licences for oil and gas extraction in UK waters, retrain oil workers and back a smooth transition to renewables. Any future licences would not be aligned with the Paris Agreement. © Luca Marino / Greenpeace

Oil and gas workers need support to retrain, and government must create green jobs

The UK already has more oil and gas than we can afford to burn to stay within climate limits. 

Allowing new climate-wrecking fossil fuel projects just doesn’t make sense – the government needs to get serious and put an end to new oil and gas licences.

But it needs to do more than that. Oil workers and their communities deserve a just transition away from fossil fuels. 

This means investing in renewable energy to create new, secure jobs, and then supporting oil and gas workers to retrain.

A man stands outside the BEIS department, holding a poster reading 'Just transition roadmap' with 'Stop new oil licenses' and 'Invest in renewable energy' on signs that mimic road signs, with arrows in between.'

Greenpeace UK activist with a just transition roadmap poster, outside BEIS, calling on the energy minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan to stop new licences for oil and gas extraction in UK waters, retrain oil workers and back a smooth transition to renewables. © Luca Marino / Greenpeace

2021 is a year for the government to show climate leadership

This year the UK is hosting major climate talks and inviting leaders from around the world to ramp up action to tackle the climate crisis. 

The government will make a fool of itself in the run-up to hosting the COP26 global climate talks if its energy minister signs off on new oil and gas licences that serve to rip up the Paris climate agreement.

In late 2020 Denmark announced that it would stop issuing new oil and gas licences and phase-out production by 2050 – with a support package for workers. Ireland has also taken legislative steps to ban oil and gas licences

The UK is surrounded by countries that are starting to overtake it on climate action. In order to show real climate leadership, the UK government must now stop issuing new oil and gas licences and start to plan for a just energy transition.

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