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Campaigners urge Nicola Sturgeon to end support for new oil and gas developments

Image credit: PA

Campaigners urge Nicola Sturgeon to end support for new oil and gas developments

Environmental campaigners have warned Nicola Sturgeon the Scottish Government must drop its support for new North Sea oil and gas developments if it is serious about combating climate change.

With the First Minister set to outline her Programme for Government (PfG) on Tuesday, Friends of the Earth (FoE) Scotland urged the Scottish Government to introduce a series of low carbon policies, including setting an end date for fossil-fuelled heating systems in homes, free bus travel for all and measures to ensure that decommissioning and renewable energy jobs are kept in Scotland.

Describing the PfG as an “opportunity to deliver on their fine words about the climate emergency”, FoE Scotland director Dr Richard Dixon also urged ministers to tighten emission reduction targets to achieve net zero by 2040, and reduce emissions by 86 per cent by 2030.

FoE Scotland called for the Scottish Government to enact a legislative ban on onshore fracking and unconventional oil and gas extraction, establish a publicly owned energy company which generates renewable power and tackles fuel poverty, to improve access to justice in environmental matters, and commit to establishing a specialist environmental court.

Dixon said: “With the eyes of the world expected to focus on Scotland next year for the UN Climate Conference in Glasgow, the Scottish Government should put its money where its mouth is on tackling climate change and implement these recommendations.

“The Scottish Government must end its support for the oil and gas companies who want to drill every drop from the North Sea and instead plan a managed phase out of extraction and implement a just transition for those workers and communities currently reliant on this sector. The government can no longer turn a blind eye to the damage caused by the fossil fuels produced just off our shores.”

He added: “Transport is Scotland’s most polluting sector and our bus sector has been losing millions of passengers in recent years. Making bus travel free for everyone would reduce climate and air pollution, slash congestion, save money in the health service, and ensure that everyone can access work, family and social activities irrespective of income.

“By committing to stop heating our homes with fossil fuels we’ll send a clear message that the era of fossil fuels is coming to an end. This should begin with their ban in all new-build homes, then through a phase-out of like-for-like replacements of oil and gas boilers and cookers. This must be delivered in tandem with a programme that lifts people out of fuel poverty and ensures every home is super energy efficient.”

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