Patrick Harvie, Economy and Energy spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today (18 Jan) condemned the main conclusions of a Holyrood report in which MSPs from other parties back the maximum extraction of North Sea oil and gas rather than a transition toward sustainable jobs in viable alternative sectors.
During the Economy and Energy Committee's inquiry into Oil and Gas, MSPs heard from trades unions representing industry workers that a managed transition toward decommissioning and industries like renewable energy is urgently needed, and that Scotland should be “planning for the North Sea to have a shorter lifespan than previously thought”.
The committee's report, published today, shows that Mr Harvie's proposal to support such a transition toward industries with a future was voted down by SNP, Labour and Conservative MSPs.
The same MSPs also voted against Mr Harvie's proposals:
-that the Energy Jobs Taskforce set up by the Scottish Government be given an additional explicit aim of supporting transition;
-that a transition to more sustainable industries was achievable;
-that decommissioning should be prioritised to ensure Scotland doesn't lose out to other countries on contracts for such work.
Patrick Harvie, Economy and Energy spokesperson for the Scottish Greens and MSP for Glasgow, said:
"Workers in the North-east and the wider Scottish economy are suffering, and what’s needed is a credible and responsible plan of action for sustainable employment. With low oil prices and far greater reserves of fossil fuel than can ever be used, the idea that business-as-usual will resume is simply delusional. Today's reckless report shows that the other parties in parliament have their heads in the sand.
"It is abundantly clear that we need to start building up other sectors and manage our economy away from fossil fuel extraction. Trades unions representing workers recognise this, and are concerned that we’re already at risk of losing out on new jobs to other countries.
"It seems only the Scottish Greens take seriously the mounting evidence that transition is necessary, from the Paris agreement on limiting climate change emissions to the warning from the Governor of the Bank of England about the massive financial risk as oil and gas assets become liabilities.
"Scotland can have more and better jobs than currently exist in North Sea extraction but we need a bolder Holyrood with a stronger Green voice if we're to make it happen."
The main amendment to the committee report proposed by Mr Harvie and voted down by other MSPs was:
“We recognise that the employment opportunities relating to the UKCS will inevitably shift toward decommissioning, and that Scotland is in danger of missing this opportunity if the strategic priority remains maximising extraction. Given that global fossil fuel reserves already far exceed the limits of sustainable consumption, we consider that government policy must be urgently realigned to support the transition away from the current reliance on fossil fuels, and toward the sustainable jobs which can be generated in a post carbon economy.”