Tue 19 Jan, 2016

Patrick speech_small

The Scottish Green MSPs will tomorrow lead a Holyrood debate on the need to move away from Scotland's over-reliance on fossil fuels, branding the current lack of a feasible transition plan 'reckless'.

Patrick Harvie MSP and Alison Johnstone MSP will invite other parties to vote on a motion calling on the Scottish Government to collaborate with workers, trade unions and industry to build a just transition to a secure sustainable economy.

In the debate, the Greens will argue that the recent job losses in the North Sea and the economic insecurity resulting from dramatic oil price fluctuations show that the scale of employment previously supported by the North Sea oil and gas extraction cannot be sustained.

The Greens will also highlight that a managed decline of North Sea oil and gas extraction could be an opportunity to capture the skills and experience of energy workers and create new employment in more secure alternatives such as renewables, decommissioning and sustainable forestry.

There is a growing consensus on the need to plan transition among stakeholders in Scotland and the UK. In a recent meeting of the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee at Holyrood, the STUC said that "we have to be planning for the North Sea to have a shorter lifespan than previously thought". Furthermore, the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has noted that economic reliance on fossil fuels represents a risk to financial stability.

A report commissioned by the Scottish Green MSPs last year showed that 200,000 new jobs could be created through a managed transition from fossil fuels to cleaner alternatives.

Patrick Harvie said:

"The devastating job losses in the North Sea should have been the final warning for the Scottish Government and Scotland’s parties to start drawing up plans on how to move away from our over-reliance on fossil fuels. Yet, it still looks like no other party but the Scottish Greens is willing to face the facts and start looking ahead.

"Scotland’s trade unions and even the Bank of England have recognised it - building our future on oil and gas is simply not an option. The fossil fuel industry will decline, whether we like it or not.

"The choice we do have is to invest in in the huge opportunities of the post-carbon economy. As our research has shown, it offers far more secure, high quality employment than will be lost as the fossil fuel age passes. Instead of sticking with the status quo in the face of more redundancies and financial instability, we could be planning for a transition and securing the future of our workers, our energy production and our economy. I hope all MSPs do the right thing for Scotland's future and vote for a sensible transition plan."

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