Climate campaigners have written to the First Minister Yousaf to call on the Scottish Government to ‘not only match but go further’ than the commitment of UK Labour to block future oil and gas development.

It says the transition away from fossil fuels is an opportunity for the “political leadership that is needed to build a fairer and more equal Scotland.”

The letter comes ahead of Scottish Parliament debate (7/6/23) on fossil fuels and urges the Scottish Government to prioritise planning and action that delivers a just transition away from fossil fuels for workers and communities currently employed by this industry.

The letter, signed by 5 coalitions and 34 climate, fuel poverty and international justice groups from RSPB to Christian Aid to Extinction Rebellion Scotland, states how countless credible institutions are clear about the incompatibility of new oil and gas fields with a safe climate future.

The call comes amidst concerns that Humza Yousaf’s Government is going backwards on oil and gas after statements about future North Sea activity from Cabinet Secretary Màiri McAllan and criticism of the Labour position by Energy Minister Gillian Martin.

The letter also says that “workers in the oil and gas industry already have a plan for a just transition, they just need political support to make it happen” and that to ensure secure affordable energy Scottish Ministers must use their powers to “accelerate well-planned domestic renewable energy production and improve the energy efficiency of our buildings.”

The chair of the UK Climate Change Committee Lord Deben has also spoken out in support of the Labour position saying that it “should be the common view of all parties.”

Friends of the Earth Scotland’s head of campaigns Mary Church said:

“Every new barrel of oil worsens the climate crisis and takes us further away from a fair and fast transition to renewable energy.

“The Scottish Government must be willing to stand up to oil companies and commit to ending oil and gas extraction as an essential part of planning for a just transition for workers and communities.

“Oil and gas workers are ready to lead a rapid and fair transition away from fossil fuels, and have a blueprint to create an energy industry that protects workers, communities and the climate.

“Ministers must set an end date for oil and gas this decade to provide certainty for the sector, enable workforce planning and make it clear that investing in renewables is the only choice for our energy future.”

Jamie Livingstone, Head of Oxfam Scotland highlighted how support for oil and gas expansion will “undermine Scotland’s global climate leadership” commenting:

“It’s estimated that one person will die of hunger every 28 seconds across East Africa this month because of a drought that would not have happened without climate change.

“A just transition for those working in the oil and gas industry in the UK is essential, but this transition must also be much faster to avert further devastating global impacts. That starts with blocking all new oil and gas extraction. No ifs, no buts. The Scottish Government’s leadership on global climate justice will only remain credible if it strongly opposes the UK Government granting any new licences for climate-wrecking fossil fuels.”

Anne McCall, Director of RSPB Scotland, said:

“The shift away from fossil fuels and toward renewables is essential if we are to tackle the intertwined nature and climate crisis. Continuing to extract and burn oil and gas makes no sense if we want to stop climate change causing chaos for ourselves and the other living creatures that human activities have already harmed.

“With robust ecological evidence informing where new renewable developments go, we must make the shift to clean energy in a nature positive way. Scotland is one of the most wildlife-depleted countries in the world, and our progress in reducing emissions has stalled, so there is no excuse for delaying the transition.”

Dylan Hamilton from youth climate group Fridays for Future commented,

“The Scottish Government has talked the talk, but it’s time to walk the walk. We have allowed the climate crisis to worsen and now people are already suffering all over the world. We can’t afford to take our time, it is a fact that to prevent catastrophic climate breakdown we must end oil and gas extraction. You can’t make deals with physics, and millions of lives and the future are on the line.”


Letter to Humza Yousaf was sent on Monday 5 June. The letter urges the Scottish Government to not only match Labour’s ambition to block future oil and gas licensing, but to go further, and oppose new projects in all undeveloped fields and not just the controversial Cambo and Rosebank projects as Labour has promised to do.

Màiri McAllan: Stopping all future North Sea activity ‘wrong’ – The National 31/5/23

Scottish energy minister lambasts ‘tone deaf’ Labour North Sea policy – Energy Voice 31/5/23

In April, the World Weather Attribution group of scientists published new analysis showing that the drought in East Africa would not have happened without climate change:

In May, Oxfam warned that the food crisis in East Africa is expected to reach its highest level since the crisis began with one person likely to die of hunger every 28 seconds between now and July across Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and South Sudan:

Lord Deben backs Labour’s plan to halt new North Sea oil and gas drilling

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.