Climate campaigners call for clearer focus on winding down oil and gas
Ahead of a Scottish Parliament debate today on the climate and nature emergencies, campaigners are urging politicians to spell out their support for a managed transition away from fossil fuels to tackle the climate crisis.
The debate will focus on a motion from the Scottish Government’s Net Zero, Energy and Transport Cabinet Secretary, Michael Matheson MSP, asking the Parliament to agree that addressing the climate crisis is a “critical priority”. However, the motion makes no direct reference to the future of oil and gas.
Public polling released yesterday showing widespread support across Scotland for a commitment to wind down production and redirect support to renewable energy industries.
Friends of the Earth Scotland’s Climate and Energy Campaigner, Caroline Rance said:
“The climate emergency must be at the forefront of the new parliament’s focus, however silence on the future of fossil fuels is a glaring omission.
“The Scottish Government continues to support the extraction of every last drop of oil and gas possible from the North Sea. This is simply incompatible with the climate crisis and the Scottish Government must prioritise workers and climate over oil company profits.
“A rapid and fair transition away from fossil fuels can create new jobs for people who work in the sector to transfer their skills and experience. A clear timescale for winding down production is essential to ensure this process is managed properly for the climate, workers and communities affected by this transition.
“The Scottish Government’s current climate plans rely heavily on industry greenwashing technologies like carbon capture, fossil hydrogen and hare-brained schemes to burn massive numbers of trees for energy. These illusory projects risk distracting the Government from the hard work of developing the concrete projects that we know will cut emissions in the here and now, such as boosting home energy efficiency and public transport .”
The polling from ICM, commissioned by Uplift UK, revealed extensive support across Scotland and the rest of the UK for a managed decline of fossil fuel production and the redirecting of subsidies to renewable energy industries. Key results included:
- Almost two thirds (65%) of Scots support establishing a concrete plan to wind down existing extraction and production of oil & gas in the UK and its waters, that supports workers retraining for other industries.
- Two thirds (66%) of Scots believe the UK government should redirect spending allocated to North Sea oil and gas extraction to renewable energy technologies and low carbon industries.
- Nearly three quarters (72%) of Scots support the UK government offering financial support to workers in the oil and gas industries to retrain in the renewable energy sector or other low carbon industries.
- Three in five (60%) of SNP voters believe the UK government should prioritise training and skills’ spending on renewable energy companies more than on oil and gas companies.
Last month, the influential International Energy Agency called for an end to new permits and funding for fossil fuel extraction. A Dutch court also ruled that Shell’s plans to keep on pumping oil were incompatible with the action needed to tackle climate change. The oil giant was ordered to cut emissions by 45% within 10 years.
Notes to Editors
Scottish Parliament Motion: Addressing the Climate Emergency (Wednesday, June 9, 2021)
Uplift Polling https://www.heraldscotland.com/business_hq/19356004.majority-think-north-sea-oil-gas-production-halted/
Friends of the Earth Scotland briefing to MSPs ahead of the debate https://foe.scot/resource/climate-emergency-debate/
IEA report (18/5/21) https://foe.scot/press-release/no-new-oil-gas-to-meet-climate-commitments-says-iea-report/
Historic victory: judge forces Shell to drastically reduce CO2 emissions 26/5/21
A major survey of offshore oil and gas workers in 2020 reveals that four in five would consider moving to work in another industry. Workers’ biggest concern for their future career path is job security, with respondents citing low morale and fears that their community will become a ‘wasteland region’.
Friends of the Earth Scotland is:
* Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 73 national member groups, and 5,000 local activist groups.