Environmental campaigners have warned the Scottish Government that it risks back-sliding on oil and gas after comments by the Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero Màiri McAllan.

The Scottish Government is currently consulting on taking a position to oppose all new licences and phase out existing licences ahead of their economic life, in the draft Energy Strategy. Previously Màiri McAllan said the Scottish Government did not agree with new oil and gas licences, and yet in comments attributed to the Cabinet Secretary said it would be “wrong” to stop future activity in the North Sea.

In a move that has been widely welcomed by climate groups, Labour this week said that if it was to lead the next UK Government it would block new all new oil and gas developments.

The International Energy Agency, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the UN Secretary-General and the Governments of Denmark, France, Sweden, Wales and Ireland have all agreed with the need to end new oil and gas to secure a safe climate future.

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

“Scotland is literally burning, with what may be the UK’s biggest wildfire on record, and yet the Scottish Government appears to be back-sliding on its commitment to phasing out oil and gas to protect the climate.

“In November last year, Màiri McAllan said the Government didn’t agree with the UK handing out new oil and gas licences. In the intervening months the climate crisis has only got worse with more extreme weather and ever greater human cost, yet now the Cabinet Secretary seems to be talking up future activity in the North Sea.

“Every new barrel of oil worsens the crisis and fuels the fire whilst taking us further away from a fair and fast transition to renewable energy. Standing up to oil companies and setting an end date for oil and gas extraction this decade is an essential part of planning for a just transition for workers and communities currently dependent on the industry. It will provide certainty for the sector, making it clear that investing in renewables is the only choice for our energy future, and enabling workforce planning.”


Notes to Editors

Scottish Government oppose issuing new oil and gas licences 22/11/22

Scottish Parliament record 22/11/22

Màiri McAllan: “The Scottish Government has previously made it very clear that we do not agree with the UK Government issuing new oil and gas licences. That is not a viable answer to either the energy cost crisis or the climate crisis—the answer to both of those is rapid investment in and deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency.”


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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.