Jeremy Corbyn has urged Boris Johnson to ban fracking for gas as research by Labour shows it will stop the UK meeting a net zero target for carbon emissions this century.
The analysis was published ahead of a visit by the Labour leader to join anti-fracking protesters at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site in Lancashire.
Labour said that even if progress continued at its current rate, the government’s 2050 target would be missed by nearly 50 years.
Corbyn’s visit is part of his summer campaign tour as the party gets ready for an election potentially called by Johnson as soon as this autumn.
He called on the prime minister to stand up to big business interests and ban fracking, accusing Johnson of “bending the knee” to companies who want to profit from fracking.
“We need urgent action to tackle the climate emergency, and that means the prime minister immediately banning fracking once and for all,” he said.
“It’s the next generation and the world’s poorest who will pay the price if this Conservative government continues to put the interests of a few polluters ahead of people.
“Tackling the climate emergency cannot be left to the free market. Labour will ban fracking and our green industrial revolution will face the climate emergency head-on and leave no community behind, transforming our country’s energy supply and creating 400,000 good, well-paid jobs across the country.”
Andrea Leadsom, the business secretary, is a supporter of fracking who has dismissed warnings about the environmental impact as “scaremongering”, while Theresa Villiers, the environment secretary, voted against a ban on fracking.
Johnson himself has said “we place the climate change agenda at the absolute core of what we are doing”, but as recently as 2015 referred to global warming as a “primitive fear” that is “without foundation”.
The Cuadrilla boss, Francis Egan, said Labour’s policies would leave the UK dependent on imported gas. “I am very disappointed that Labour appear to favour continued and increasing levels of gas imports by ship from the Middle East, Africa or the United States or by pipeline from Russia rather than developing a well-regulated, job-creating UK shale gas industry,” he said.
“The Labour party has made it very clear that it opposes UK shale as a supply source for our required natural gas, but appears to have no policy or plan for where the UK’s gas supply should instead come from. We can only assume that it favours continued and increasing long-distance gas imports.”
A spokeswoman from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: “Independent climate experts have recognised that natural gas has a role to play as we meet our 2050 net zero emissions target – now firmly set in law.
“Exploring the potential of a new domestic energy source is not only compatible with these world-leading climate goals, it could also deliver substantial economic benefits, through the creation of well-paid, high-quality jobs.”
Ban fracking in UK, Jeremy Corbyn urges Boris Johnson – The Guardian