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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

IPPR: End of overseas fossil fuel support ‘long overdue’ now UK must get ‘own house in order’

Head of Environmental Justice Commission welcomes move, but ‘devil will be in the detail’ of the announcement

Earlier this month IPPR published a report setting out a blueprint for a ‘Net Zero North Sea’ transitioning the UK away from oil and gas, as well as setting out detailed plans to support fossil fuel workers through the changes.

Luke Murphy, Head of the IPPR Environmental Justice Commission, responding to news that the PM will announce an end of UK overseas fossil fuel support ahead of the international Climate Ambition Summit, said:

"This is a welcome, though long overdue, decision. The UK simply cannot claim the mantle of climate leadership whilst funding fossil fuel projects abroad.

"The devil will be in the detail. The government has already said that UK Export Finance will continue to consider applications for support in the oil and gas sector whilst the consultation is ongoing, but we would urge the government to go further and block any further support.

"The UK government also needs to get its own house in order and commit to moving on from oil and gas here at home. That means a firm commitment to keeping fossil fuels in the ground and offering a blueprint for affected workers and communities to make the most of the huge opportunities offered by the zero-carbon economy."



Robin Harvey, Digital and Media Officer: 07779 204798 [email protected] 

Luke Murphy is available for interview


  1. IPPR recently released a new report  Net Zero North Sea: a managed transition for Oil and Gas in the UK and Scotland after Covid-19, by Josh Emden, Luke Murphy and Russell Gunson, available for download at In it, the thinktank called for
    • the government to confirm its intention to phase out UK Export Financing (UKEF) of fossil fuel projects and for UKEF to actively increase investment into low-carbon and climate compatible opportunities abroad such as offshore wind and decommissioning;
    • for the UK and Scottish governments to commit to a managed transition for oil and gas in Scotland and the UK by delivering a ‘Net Zero Deal, for the North Sea;
    • for the UK and Scottish governments to work together to set clear five-yearly targets to reduce oil and gas production, consumption and exports over time, in line with overall net-zero targets and the Paris Agreement recorded on a billion barrel per five-year basis.
    • for the UK and Scottish governments to collectively agree to remove or amend the Infrastructure Act so that it puts a cap aligned to their respective net zero targets and commitments under the Paris Agreement, on the requirement for maximum economic recovery (MER) from oil and gas fields.
  2. Earlier this year IPPR also published The Road to COP26  by Luke Murphy and Carsten Jung, available for download at . The paper called on the government to:
    • Set a nationally determined contribution (NDC) reduction target for carbon emissions of 'at least 69 per cent' by 2030. 
    • Take action to recognise the UK's historic contribution to the climate crisis by increasing its domestic ambition above this figure, or by committing £20 billion to the Green Climate Fund up to 2030, as a means to realise the non-domestic emissions reduction target and support less industrialised nations to adapt to the changing climate on their own terms. 
    • Close the near £30 billion annual investment gap needed to reach net zero by investing in home retrofit, sustainable transport and nature restoration.

3. Both reports were published as a submission to IPPR’s cross-party Environmental Justice Commission.

4. IPPR is the UK’s pre-eminent progressive think tank. With more than 40 staff in offices in London, Manchester, Newcastle and Edinburgh, IPPR is Britain’s only national think tank with a truly national presence.