Fossil fuels received £20bn more UK support than renewables since 2015, according to new research commissioned by Liberal Democrats.
The UK government has given £80bn in support to fossil fuel producers, surpassing the £60bn it has given to renewables. While fossil fuels were receiving this greater investment, renewable energy was not far behind, with 2020 being the first year when support for renewables exceeded that of fossils.
Despite the uptick, however, 2021 saw a sharp increase in financial aid provided to fossil fuel companies, rising from £1bn in 2020 to nearly £2bn. This is a 10.7% increase compared with just a 0.01% rise for renewable energy.
Analysis by the House of Commons library also uncovered that one-fifth of the money given directly to fossil fuel businesses supported new extraction and mining projects – showing that there is a need for more stringent action against this industry if we are to meet our net zero targets.
In response, politicians have called on the government to put net zero at the heart of all policy decisions and allocate funds away from these companies to help expedite clean measures such as renewable energy generation.
Wera Hobhouse, climate and energy spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats, said: “It’s extremely worrying that the Conservative government have received so much money from taxpayers as well as failing to enforce proper taxes on oil and gas giants’ record profit,” Adding, “The COVID-19 crisis could have been used as an opportunity for long-term investments into renewables, yet these announcements show that the current administration failed grasping that chance”
Hobhouse believes her party would bring about radical change if elected into power, ending new listings of fossil fuel companies on the London Stock Exchange and requiring existing businesses to declare their plans towards transitioning towards net zero emissions amongst other actions.
Shell made £32bn while BP pulled in £23bn last year, but their investments into renewable energies paled significantly in comparison; Shell invested only 10% of what it placed into oil and gas projects into its green portfolio, while BP reduced its ambition for emission-cutting targets from 35-40% by 2030 down to 20-30%.