Nicola Sturgeon rejects calls to divest from fossil fuels
Nicola Sturgeon has rejected calls to divest from fossil fuels, telling the Scottish Parliament anything that undermines the oil and gas industry would be “unhelpful” while it is recovering from a low oil price.
Environmental campaigners have pressured institutions to shift investment strategies away from fossil fuels due to the risk posed by climate change, but a report this week from the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee recommended the oil and gas sector needs the support of investment.
In today’s FMQs committee convener Murdo Fraser asked: “Does the First Minister agree that vocal campaigns for the divestment of pension funds and others from the oil and gas industry are unhelpful, potentially damaging and might, if they are followed, lead to more job losses?”
Sturgeon replied: “I agree that anything that undermines the industry at this time is unhelpful. I am also aware of the report that Murdo Fraser refers to; it is helpful and is one of the many things that the Cabinet will discuss as we consider how we will continue to give the industry the support that it needs at this time.”
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Labour’s Jackie Baillie called on the Scottish Government to publish a revised oil bulletin, detailing how the collapse in the oil price will impact on jobs and the economy.
Sturgeon said she had written to the Prime Minister in an attempt to accelerate the Aberdeen city deal, funded jointly by the UK and Scottish Governments, to increase infrastructure investment in Aberdeen.
She said: “Last year, I set up the energy jobs task force, which has already helped to support more than 2,500 individuals and 100 employers through the current downturn, and will continue to support the industry to improve collaboration, co-operation and innovation.”
The Scottish Green party yesterday tabled a debate, which was defeated, calling for the Scottish Government to transition the economy away from oil and into more sustainable industries.
Speaking afterwards, Alison Johnstone MSP said: “Scotland can plan for a more stable economy by prioritising skills, innovation, support for SMEs and by making energy efficient homes a national infrastructure priority with the funding it deserves.
She added: “Rather than simply reacting to redundancies we should be reskilling and matching existing skills to the jobs of the future.”