Greenpeace, the environmental non-profit entity, is suing the UK Government over its decision to offer new permits for oil and gas exploration.

The group has claimed that both the government and the agency that regulates the oil and gas industry, the North Sea Transition Authority, should take emissions from both the extraction and eventual burning of the oil and gas into account.

“The government ignored over 80% of the carbon emissions these licences will produce when the oil and gas is actually burnt,” the environmental campaign group said.

However, attorneys for the British Department for Energy Security and Net Zero claim that although ministers considered end-use emissions, they were not compelled to examine them, reported Reuters.

Last October, the UK launched its first licensing round since 2019 for companies to explore oil and gas in the North Sea.

At the time, Business and Energy Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said the licensing round is aimed at bolstering the country’s energy security in the wake of “Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine”.

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He added: “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.”

According to Greenpeace, the round could result in the issuance of up to 130 new licences, rendering the UK’s net zero strategy “unlawful”.

In court documents, lawyers for Net Zero and the Department for Energy Security claimed that “any end-use emissions from domestic oil and gas production would likely be consistent with the UK’s net zero targets”.