OVERSEAS oil and gas projects will stop receiving direct taxpayer support, Boris Johnson has announced.

The move, announced as the UK Government prepares to co-host an international online summit on cutting carbon emissions, spells an end to billions of pounds of British backing for fossil fuel projects.

Under the plans, the UK Government will end export finance, aid funding and trade promotion for new crude oil, natural gas or coal energy projects, with “very limited exceptions” for some gas-fired power plants and other schemes.

In the last four years, UK taxpayers have supported £21 billion of oil and gas exports through trade promotion and export finance, which provides financing to UK businesses selling goods and services overseas.

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The UK Government said it would work with the oil and gas industry to support the move to low carbon energy sources, through a North Sea transition deal that hopes to turn areas such as Aberdeen into hubs for offshore wind and other carbon-cutting technologies such as green hydrogen.

The leading representative body for the UK offshore oil and gas industry understood the commitment but warned over a  "need to be careful to maintain our supply chain’s competitiveness".

The Scottish Government has called on Westminster to do more on energy regulation, the gas grid and new green technologies.

The announcement comes ahead of a summit co-hosted by the UN, UK and France to mark five years since the Paris Agreement -the world’s first comprehensive treaty on tackling climate change, was secured in the French capital.

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The Prime Minister said action by leaders must be driven “by ambition on a truly grand scale” to tackle the challenge of climate change.

At least 75 world leaders, including Canada’s Justin Trudeau and India’s Narendra Modi as well as Pope Francis, will address the online event, alongside the UN secretary general, businesses such as Apple, and city mayors.

Countries are expected to highlight ambitious new commitments to reduce emissions and tackle climate change.

The Paris Agreement commits countries to take action to limit temperature rises to “well below” 2C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to keep them to 1.5C.

Countries were due to submit new climate plans this year ahead of key UN COP26 talks due to be held in Glasgow, but with the pandemic delaying that until next November, the online summit is being held to drive momentum on the crisis.

Mr Johnson said: “Climate change is one of the great global challenges of our age and it is already costing lives and livelihoods the world over.

“Our actions as leaders must be driven not by timidity or caution, but by ambition on a truly grand scale.

“By taking ambitious and decisive action today, we will create the jobs of the future, drive the recovery from coronavirus and protect our beautiful planet for generations to come.”

But Scotland’s Climate Change Secretary, Roseanna Cunningham, has urged the UK Government to set out detailed new climate change policies at the summit.

Ms Cunningham said that action must accompany ambition if they are to show real leadership on climate change ahead of Glasgow COP26.

The delayed Scottish Government Climate Change Plan update, due to be published this month, will set out the practical steps to allow Scotland to become carbon neutral by 2045, five years ahead of the UK Government commitment.

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The blueprint will also set out the action it claims is needed from the UK Government in reserved areas including a pledge to accelerate development of carbon capture and storage and hydrogen technologies, review options on fuel duty to help reduce unsustainable travel and rule out a reserved carbon emissions tax which devolved administrations would have no input in.

Ms Cunningham said: “Scotland has set its own world-leading statutory 2030 target of a 75 per cent reduction in emissions in response to the UN Paris Agreement and we have consistently been calling on the UK Government to match our level of ambition. Given the reserved nature of many key policy levers for decarbonisation, a more ambitious UK-wide approach will be critical in achieving Scotland’s goals.

“The Prime Minister’s Climate Ambition Summit this weekend provides the perfect platform for the UK Government to set out not just ambition but action including changes to the gas grid, support for offshore wind and support for the commercialisation of negative emissions technologies.”

She added: “Action is vital if the UK wants to show real leadership on climate issues and give credence to their warm words ahead of Glasgow COP26 next year. I also urge UK ministers to rule out once and for all any suggestion that they are considering an alternative, reserved carbon emission tax to replace the EU emissions trading system at the end of December.

“This month we will publish our updated climate change plan detailing how Scotland will end our contribution to climate change and support a green recovery from Covid-19. As I have said before tackling climate change must be a shared local, national and global endeavour and those in positions of power must begin to show leadership on the most critical issue of this generation.”