Scottish Greens are calling on both sides in the independence debate to prove that they understand the serious climate implications of promising to extract every last drop of North Sea oil.

Economists and energy experts have warned that if we burn the fossil fuels already listed on the world’s capital markets we will breach the carbon emissions budget designed to limit dangerous global warming. If we stick to the budget extraction companies are wasting investment and creating assets that won't be used.

Scottish Greens are highlighting recent comments by former NASA Goddard Institute boss and renowned climate scientist Prof James Hansen, who said:

"Governments are allowing and encouraging fossil fuel companies to go after every conceivable fuel, which is an obtuse policy that ignores the implications for young people, future generations and nature. Whether governments continue to be so foolhardy as to allow or encourage development of all fossil fuels may determine the fate of humanity."

Patrick Harvie, Green MSP for Glasgow and a member of Holyrood's Referendum Bill committee, said:

"While the SNP and the pro-UK parties fight over who's the best supporter of North Sea oil extraction, those of us who genuinely care about the future understand it is a resource to be conserved and used wisely rather than plundered and to hell with the consequences.

"To commit to extracting every last drop the Scottish Government is simply copying Westminster's position. By taking control Scotland has a chance to do things differently, responsibly."

Mr Harvie added:

"Those of us who are pro-independence but not nationalists understand that undecided voters are unlikely to be motivated by the promise of more of the same. The Scottish Government should commit that in the event of a Yes vote it will establish an independent advisor on fossil fuels to work out what the responsible use of our resources would look like.

"Scotland could also show leadership by making companies report the emissions potential of their oil and gas reserves. This is something the UK Government has so far ducked and the Scottish Government would do well to consider."

UK Treasury spokesman in Scotland on Sunday:

"The UK is supporting the industry to extract every last drop of oil."

The First Minister, Scottish Government news release:

"Oil and gas will remain an enormous economic resource for many decades to come."

Prof James Hansen in the Guardian

Unburnable Carbon report on the UK Government's failure to have extraction companies report their emissions potential