Scottish Government must not U-turn on presumption against new oil and gas

There is no sustainable future with new oil and gas exploration.

The Scottish Government must retain its presumption against any new oil and gas exploration, say the Scottish Greens.

Any retreat on that position would leave a huge question mark over the new look Cabinet’s commitment to tackling the climate crisis.

The party’s climate spokesperson, Mark Ruskell MSP, made the call ahead of the highly anticipated publication of the Scottish Government’s new Energy Strategy & Just Transition Plan.

The draft plan, published in 2023, reflected long-standing Scottish Green policies for an end to new oil and gas drilling and coal and a just transition to clean renewable energy in Scotland’s efforts to reach net zero.

It would make Scotland a world leader by being one of the few petro-states to actively limit any new exploration.

This position was strongly supported by two previous First Ministers, Nicola Sturgeon and Humza Yousaf, but when asked directly in a live radio interview on Monday the new post holder, John Swinney, failed to offer similar backing.

Mr Ruskell said: “There is a moral, environmental and economic responsibility on all governments to shift away from oil and gas and towards clean, green and renewable energy sources. We are at a crossroads for our planet.

“The Scottish Greens may no longer be in government, but there can be no climate climbdown or moves back to the damaging policies of maximum fossil fuel extraction and drilling even more of our North Sea.

“Scotland has a huge renewable potential and resources that any country would envy. That has to be the focus of our future energy strategy. That is why the draft policy represented such a responsible evidence-led shift, and why we must not go backwards.

“The climate crisis is the defining challenge of our lifetimes, and one where Scotland can and must be a global leader. 

“Nothing other than a phasing out of oil and gas and a rapid acceleration towards a renewables-led transition for the industry makes sense economically or environmentally.

“I hope that the new First Minister will urgently and very clearly reaffirm his commitment to a presumption against new fossil fuel exploration and join us in calling for the UK government to drop damaging projects like the Cambo oil field and support our just transition to a cleaner, greener Scotland.”

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