(Bloomberg) -- Drilling for more U.K. North Sea oil and gas won’t protect consumers from volatile energy prices, the government’s independent climate advisors said on Thursday.  

New fossil fuel projects would take decades to develop and barely impact prices because Britain is interconnected to the global market, the Climate Change Committee said in a letter to the Business Secretary.

Amid soaring energy prices and a cost of living crisis in the U.K., a small but vocal group of Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party are calling for the government to boost fossil fuel production. They want the prime minister to lift the U.K.’s fracking ban and “revitalize” North Sea production in response to tensions between Russia and Ukraine. 

But even if the U.K. extracted all its reserves and resources from new fields, it would only meet about 1% of European annual gas demand to 2050, the CCC said.

“The price of gas is very, very marginally affected by what we produce in this country,” said John Gummer, chairman of the CCC. “We know that already because more than half of it is produced in this country and still we are paying the international price.”

A Better Way

A better solution would be to reduce the U.K.’s reliance on fossil fuels and ramp-up plans to meet its net-zero goals, the group said. 

Notably, if the government had continued with its home insulation policies, which were started a decade ago but later scrapped, annual household bills from April 1 would be £1 billion pounds ($1.4 billion) lower. That’s the equivalent of £40 per household, the committee said.

Boosting renewable energy production would also cut costs. The CCC said that prices would be £100 less per home today, if the government had already met its 2030 target for 40 gigawatts of offshore wind power. 

The CCC was responding to a government consultation on plans to introduce new climate compatibility checks for new oil and gas proposals. In a letter to Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, they backed a tighter limit on production, with stringent tests and a presumption against exploration.

Ultimately, the group said it favored a ban on new production because it would boost the U.K.’s climate diplomacy efforts. However, they stopped short of calling for such a moratorium, saying the decision was a political one that rested with ministers.

“As the Business ​and Energy Secretary has said, turning off North Sea gas overnight would put energy security, British jobs and industries at risk, and we would be more dependent on foreign imports,” a spokesperson for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said.

“We welcome the Committee’s acknowledgment that carbon budgets can still be met if new oil and gas fields are developed in the U.K.”

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