The Scottish Government has been criticised after failing to join a new alliance launched today at COP26 that aims to phase out the fossil fuels driving the climate crisis.

Nicola Sturgeon said two weeks ago that unlimited extraction of fossil fuels was not consistent with Scotland’s climate obligations and their focus would be on the ‘fastest possible just transition for the oil and gas sector’. Despite this shift in message around oil and gas, the Scottish Government snubbed the chance to join a new Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance unveiled this afternoon.

Scottish Ministers had previously discussed the alliance with the Danish Government, who along with Costa Rica are founder members of the group which aims to secure a transition away from oil and gas. Other members include France, Ireland, Wales, New Zealand Quebec and Sweden.

Throughout COP26 Nicola Sturgeon has been photographed with leading youth climate activists such as Greta Thunberg and Vanessa Nakate and urged young people to push her to go further on climate action. At a meeting on youth last week she said “I promise you we will accelerate as far and as fast as we can the transition away from fossil fuels.”

This week she said big emitters must ‘step up’ and talked about Scotland’s ‘climate justice fund’ which helps countries with the impacts of climate change. However, her Government has been unwilling to join this new Alliance despite burning of fossil fuels being the key driver of the climate crisis.

Friends of the Earth Scotland Director Dr Richard Dixon commented,

“Nicola Sturgeon is keen to use the language of climate justice and be photographed with Greta Thunberg but at some point her fine rhetoric has to translate into a commitment to stopping the oil and gas production that is driving the climate crisis. Refusing to join the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance is a failure to follow through on her Government’s recent change of position to no longer support unlimited oil and gas extraction.”

“Instead of siding with oil and gas companies, the Scottish Government must ensure that people and communities working in oil and gas are at the heart of planning a fair and fast phase out of fossil fuels, whilst scaling up renewable energy to help create decent green jobs.”

“It is great to see this Alliance putting the focus on fossil fuel phase out but it’s concerning to see many major big oil and gas producing nations unwilling to sign up. When you’re in a hole, you have to stop digging. To meet the 1.5C goal, we need to keep coal, oil and gas safe in the ground.”


Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance website

Scottish Government press release, 25 October, in which the First Minister pledged the Scottish Government will ‘no longer support unlimited recovery of hydrocarbons including oil and gas’

Scottish Parliament exchange where Michael Matheson admitted the Scottish Government had spoken to Danish Government about joining BOGA on 13th October.

Friends of the Earth Scotland’s work to demand a just transition for communities and people who work in the oil and gas https://foe.scot/campaign/just-transition/

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.