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Barclays has published a new climate change statement and energy policy, pledging to end direct finance to firms expanding oil and gas production and setting out stricter emissions requirements for all energy sector clients.
The statement, released on Friday (9 February), was somewhat overshadowed in national media outlets due to Barclays’ acquisition of Tesco’s retail banking business.
Included in the statement is a pledge to immediately cease providing new project finance and all other kinds of direct finance for upstream oil and gas projects and related infrastructure.
“In the International Energy Agency’s Net-Zero Energy scenario, new long lead time upstream oil and gas projects are not required on a 1.5C-aligned pathway,” Barclays stated. “For current and future (declining) demand to be satisfied, investment is needed to support existing assets while clean energy is scaled”.
Environmental think tank Ember has cautioned that while the EU recorded an unprecedented reduction in coal and gas power alongside a surge in renewable energy generation last year, grid connection delays can hamper the EU’s progress in the long term – where Ember believes the UK could serve as a benchmark.
That is according to environmental think-tank Ember’s recent ‘European Electricity Review’ report, which analyses full-year electricity generation and demand data for 2023 in all EU-27 countries.
According to the report, fossil fuel generation in the EU experienced a 19% drop last year, with coal hitting its lowest level ever at 333 terawatt-hours (TWh), comprising just 12% of the EU’s power.
Meanwhile, wind and solar power saw unprecedented growth, collectively reaching a record 27% of EU electricity generation. Renewables as a whole surged to a new high, constituting 44% of the EU’s power, with hydro power rebounding from 2022 lows.
The Labour Party has officially announced that its £28bn green investment commitment will be cut by more than half, with party leader Keir Starmer affirming that all of Labour’s environmental policies are still being actively considered.
Campaigners, trade bodies and businesses including OVO and Good Energy have urged the UK Government to maintain its heat pump deployment targets and measures to make boiler manufactures transition to cleaner heating products.
An open letter from more than a dozen organisations has today (7 February) been sent to Energy Security and Net-Zero Secretary Claire Coutinho, following reports in recent days that she and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak are preparing to axe the Clean Heat Market Mechanism (CHMM).
The letter implores the Government not to do away with the Mechanism, calling it a “world-leading” policy and a“central pillar to the UK’s clean heat landscape”. The signatories state that the Mechanism’s requirements are “achievable” for the industry rather than being an unreasonable burden.