Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon has said oil and gas supplies cannot be completely ruled out, in a talk ahead of the COP26 UN climate summit.
In a Ted Talk in Edinburgh earlier today, the minister failed to say she opposed the Cambo oil field development the UK government is planning.
Earlier this week the Glasgow-born actor and campaigner Peter Capaldi said the government’s plans to construct an oilfield in the Shetland Islands is “unscientific and potentially disastrous”.
Ms Sturgeon said immediately halting oil and gas supplies would result in increased imports and unemployment.
She did however say that Westminster must reassess the issuing of licences to extract fossil fuels from the North Sea given their environmental impact.
“We’ve got to be careful that we don’t leave people and communities behind in that transition,” she explained.
“We’ve got to be careful we don’t switch domestic production to imports of oil and gas – that would be counterproductive.
“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.”
She said that while “big countries matter… the leadership of small nations matters too,” she said, referring to how a “coalition of states and cities that kept the momentum going” when then-US President Donald Trump officially withdrew from the Paris agreement in 2019.
She said: “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 world leaders must leave the landmark climate summit, scheduled to begin in Glasgow later this month, able to “look the next generation in the eye”, in the knowledge they have exerted their best efforts towards tackling climate change, adding that “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.”
This morning the Environment Agency issued a new report that said the UK must “adapt or die” ahead of changing climate conditions. The paper warned that climate change was already leading to more extreme weather. It said this will cause increased flooding and drought, sea level rises of up to 78cm by the 2080s, and public water supplies needing more than 3.4 billion extra litres of water per day by 2050. It has urged governments, businesses and society to embrace and invest in adaptation, rather than living with the costs of inaction.