OPINION: Queen Elizabeth II this week outlined the UK government’s priorities for the year ahead as the 95-year-old monarch officially reopened parliament, her first ceremonial duty since the death of her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, last month.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised the new programme of legislation will "level up" the UK and help the nation recover from the economic turmoil of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November, this includes renewed commitments to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

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The UK oil and gas industry believes its expertise and financial muscle should play a key role in helping the nation reach these climate goals, with the recently agreed North Sea Transition Deal at its heart.

One of the key pillars of the deal is that the North Sea industry decarbonises its production operations by 50% by 2030.

As analysts have pointed out, this is likely to be no easy task.

Consultancy Wood Mackenzie said in a report that clear, near-term targets are a big step in the right direction.

Neivan Boroujerdi, WoodMac’s principal analyst, Europe upstream, said that achieving 50% lower emissions by 2030 will require either full electrification of the West of Shetland and central North Sea or earlier-than-expected field cessations.

It is a big challenge, but if the North Sea industry wants to be taken seriously in the climate debate and prove it can be part of the solution and not the problem, it has no option but to deliver.

(This is an Upstream opinion article.)