Greenpeace has lost the case challenging the UK’s decision to offer new licences for exploring oil and gas in the North Sea, reported Reuters.

The London High Court ruled that the government’s decision on the new licensing round was lawful.

According to Greenpeace, an environmental campaign group, the authorities should take into account both the emissions from the extraction and eventual burning of the oil and gas.

Failure to assess that will render the UK’s net-zero strategy “unlawful”, the group had argued.

However, at a July hearing, attorneys for the UK’s Department for Energy Security and Net Zero asserted that ministers were not obligated to evaluate end-use emissions, even though they were taken into consideration.

In a written decision, Judge David Holgate dismissed Greenpeace’s appeal, finding that the decision to forgo assessing end-use emissions was reasonable.

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By GlobalData

The decision was welcomed by a representative of the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero.

“The industry is critical to strengthening our energy security – unlocking new technologies such as carbon capture and hydrogen opportunities – and will reduce our reliance on imports while supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs and growing the economy,” the representative was quoted as saying.

Greenpeace said that it would challenge the decision.

Greenpeace UK climate campaigner Philip Evans said: “If you told most people that the government is allowed to approve new oil and gas while ignoring 80% of the emissions it would produce, they simply would not believe you.

“This is completely irresponsible behaviour from ministers during a climate crisis.”

In October 2022, the UK launched the North Sea oil and gas exploration licensing round, the first since 2019.

At the time, Business and Energy Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said: “Ensuring our energy independence means exploiting the full potential of our North Sea assets to boost domestic production – recognising that producing gas in the UK has a lower carbon footprint than importing from abroad.”