Climate campaigners welcomed confirmation that if Labour forms the next UK Government they will not hand out new licences for oil and gas but are urging the party to commit to act in line with climate science and close down oil wells before the end of their natural life.

Plans for public ownership were also welcomed noting that public good objectives like keeping peoples’ homes warm and bills affordable, and reducing environmental harm, can be prioritised over profit.

However, the plans were lacking in detail on how workers’ voices will be included in the transition planning process.

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

“Burning oil and gas is driving extreme weather and climate breakdown and climate scientists, energy experts and ordinary people know that we have to stop new fossil fuels to stay within climate limits.

“Saying no to new licences is an important start, but the Labour leader needs to go further and stand up to the oil and gas companies that are ripping off householders and profiting as the planet burns. All parties need to acknowledge that no new projects can go ahead and some existing oil wells will have to be phased down before they run dry. If Rosebank, or any other development is approved by the current UK Government, then it will have to be shut down by the next UK Government.

“Whoever is running the country has to accept the reality that they need to set a clear end date for oil and gas extraction, to give clarity and focus on the transition to a renewable energy future.”

On the Great British Energy Company being based in Scotland:

“It’s welcome that Labour would headquarter its publicly owned energy company in Scotland, bringing decent green jobs with it. Public ownership of energy can help deliver the fair and fast transition that workers and communities need. People are tired of greedy energy companies who don’t care about the bills they charge and treat their employees so poorly. The oil industry in the UK grew to a world leader in just a few years through political support, the same must now be achieved with renewable energy.

On just transition for workers and communities:

“It’s welcome to see UK Labour starting to put forward plans to ensure a just transition for workers and communities, including setting conditions on public investment and contracts to ensure the creation of decent green jobs in the UK.

“There needs to be more detail on plans to prioritise supporting affected workers and communities through the transition because with the right planning and investment there is potential for three jobs for every one job at risk from a managed phase out of oil and gas, in line with global climate goals. But this will only happen with government leadership and investment.

“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. All that is required is the political will to get behind their demands.”

On investment:

“The investment promised if Labour forms the next UK Government is a great start and should be used to nationalise or take stakes in strategic energy infrastructure, such as the grid and ports, and to invest in regional publicly owned renewable generation companies. But more is needed, and reorganising the tax system for public good will be key to raising the finance needed.”

In March 2023, a coalition of offshore oil and gas workers, climate groups and trade unions backed a new plan that would deliver a just transition away from fossil fuels to protect jobs, communities and climate.

Over 1000 surveyed oil and gas workers supported transformative demands to remove immediate barriers to transitioning into renewables; to ensure safety, job security and fair pay across the energy industry; and a longer-term vision for sharing the benefits of our energy system fairly

Costed demands include a permanent Energy Excess Profits tax, a sovereign wealth fund, public ownership, rig decommissioning costs to be paid for by polluting companies, and a minimum wage for migrant workers.

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.