Responding to news of analysis which suggests that Scotland is in line for a renewed oil boom, the Scottish Greens have urged caution over deciding how the remaining oil reserves should be used.
The party reminded the Scottish government of the ambitious climate change targets which it set in 2009 in recognition of the need to keep average global temperature rises to 2º C or less.
In the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009, the Scottish government set targets to reduce Scotland’s emissions of the basket of six Kyoto Protocol greenhouse gasses by at least 42% by 2020 and by 80% by 2050, compared to the 1990/1995 baseline.
Green MSP for Glasgow and Co-convener of the Scottish Green Party, Patrick Harvie, said:
“Taking control of remaining oil revenues is one thing – what we use that control for is quite another. It is shameless hypocrisy to set climate change targets but then to extract and burn every last drop of oil from the North Sea.
“If we are at all serious about setting a sustainable course for Scotland we must set about a more rapid transition away from fossil fuels, and use the remaining revenue to fund the creation of a publicly-owned renewable energy company, as other European countries have.
“By securing a clean source of income for future generations we could wean ourselves off environmentally-damaging fossil fuels while ensuring we protect the public services our society values. The International Energy Agency has clearly stated that no more than one third of proven fossil fuel reserves can be consumed if we are serious about limiting climate change.”
Scotland is home to the biggest renewable energy resource in Europe. The Scottish Greens believe that more needs to be done to support major new renewables projects, grid upgrades, and local renewables at community level. They would also like to see more support for developing marine energy.
Meanwhile, Stuart Housden, director of RSPB Scotland, in a tweet to Newsnet Scotland warned against a boom in carbon emissions which could accompany a boom in oil, saying that:
“We need some joined up thinking on energy conservation and emissions reduction.”