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The Guardian view on new North Sea drilling: misreading the mood | Editorial

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The hottest month in world history has just ended. It is only days since the United Nations general secretary, António Guterres, warned that the era of global warming has now become the era of global boiling. Climate crisis haunts all nations without exception. The case for a redoubling of efforts to curb greenhouse gases could hardly be more stark than today.

So what kind of leadership does Britain’s prime minister offer in response to this crisis? Answer: he announces an expansion in drilling for the oil and gas that are driving the emissions that are transforming the world’s climate. In other words, while the planet burns, Rishi Sunak stands accused of pouring fuel on the flames.

Mr Sunak confirmed on Monday that the UK is to press ahead with a new phase of North Sea oil and gas exploration and production. “Hundreds” of licences will be granted in September and in subsequent rounds of licensing. The aim is explicit. Rather than winding down the industry and keeping the resources in the ground as part of the transition to the net zero target, Mr Sunak wants to max out…

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