OPINION: It must have pained the UK’s King Charles III, a longtime champion of environmental causes, to read the prepared lines setting out the government’s plan to mandate annual North Sea oil and gas lease sales.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s proposal, following on his Conservative Party government’s apparent backpedalling on its own net zero goals, was part of a package of legislative priorities meant to shore up support for the ruling party ahead of a general election next year.