Energy transition must not leave anyone behind, warns Sturgeon

The Scottish First Minister also stressed the importance of small nations in the fight against climate change.

Oil platform
Oil platform

Scotland must “be careful” not to leave communities behind as it transitions away from oil and gas, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

Giving a Ted Talk in Edinburgh on Wednesday, the First Minister again refused to voice opposition to the Cambo oil field development proposed near Shetland which has proven controversial with politicians and environmental campaigners alike.

Ms Sturgeon stressed the supply of oil and gas cannot be turned off completely in the short term because that may lead to a spike in imports, as well as economic problems caused by mass lay-offs.

Nicola Sturgeon
First Minster Nicola Sturgeon said it is important no-one is left behind by the transition (Fraser Bremner/Daily Mail/PA)

She also repeated calls for licences to extract oil and gas from the North Sea to be reassessed by the UK Government given the current threat of climate change.

“We’ve got to be careful that we don’t leave people and communities behind in that transition,” the First Minister said.

“We’ve got to be careful we don’t switch domestic production to imports of oil and gas – that would be counter-productive.

“So the way in which we make the transition matters, but we can’t have business as usual, because if we keep telling ourselves we can rely on fossil fuels forever, then we’ll never make that transition and that’s the key point we’ve got to address.”

ENVIRONMENT Climate
(PA Graphics)

The First Minister also stressed the importance of small countries doing their part to tackle climate change.

“My point today is that yes, big countries matter, but the leadership of small nations matters too,” she said.

“It’s often states and regions and small nations that can step in when the bigger countries fail to act.”

When former US president Donald Trump took his country out of the Paris climate agreement during his tenure, it was a “coalition of states and cities that kept the momentum going”, the First Minister said.

ENVIRONMENT Climate
(PA Graphics)

“If we raise our ambition and if we follow that through with action, then we can spur the bigger countries to go further and faster too,” she said.

With Cop26 coming to Glasgow at the end of this month, Ms Sturgeon said it is imperative that leaders leave Scotland’s biggest city able to “look the next generation in the eye”, knowing they have done enough to stave off what scientists have identified as humanity’s biggest threat.

“Glasgow, and the agreement that comes out of Glasgow, must – in detail, not in rhetoric, in detailed funding commitments and in other commitments – have the ability to meet the Paris objective,” she said.

“If it doesn’t do that, then we will be letting down future generations and in my view that is unthinkable and we should not let it happen.”

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