Scotland needs to put clear blue water between itself and the UK government’s oil and gas plans
The last week has seen huge profit announcements from oil and gas companies, who are making obscene amounts of money from the climate emergency that they are in large part responsible for. Equinor, for example, the oil company hoping to develop the Rosebank oilfield in Scottish waters, posted global profits of more than £15 billion for the first six months of the year. If Rosebank is approved, Equinor stands to make a further billion pounds in profit, in part at least thanks to a scandalously generous tax system that means UK taxpayers will cover 91% of the costs of this new oil field.
Today, Rishi Sunak is visiting Scotland and rather than doing what’s needed to ensure a liveable climate by drawing a line in the sand and beginning the phase-out of fossil fuels, he is getting firmly into line with the fossil fuel industry and doing precisely the opposite by announcing plans for 100 oil and gas exploration licenses.
New oil won’t make the UK more energy secure, it won’t bring the price of household bills down, and of course it certainly won’t do anything to avert the climate crisis which is being felt on every continent of the world but most acutely in the global south. This is political posturing of the worst kind by the prime minister, who is on the wrong side of history.
Ending the fossil fuel era
The time has come to take away the power the fossil fuel corporations have to make vast profits out of fuelling destruction – and for a global plan to end the fossil fuel era and transition to a zero carbon world without throwing anyone under the bus while getting there.
We’re working with others around the world calling for just that: a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty. The treaty will be a global plan to end the exploration and production of fossil fuels and to move to a zero carbon world in a way that leaves no one behind. We’ve seen treaties like this in other emergency situations, like the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Montreal Protocol agreement on the phase-out of ozone depleting chemicals.
Support is growing for the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, with the Pacific Island nations leading the way and states, councils, cities, organisations, academics and parliamentarians around the world adding their endorsement. We’re calling on the Scottish government to add their voice. You can help by signing the petition to the First Minister.
The Scottish government has been praised in the past for its leadership on climate change, setting into law some of the strongest greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets of any industrialised country. Ahead of the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow in 2021, it was the first global north government to pledge money for the loss and damage caused by climate change, and was praised for having broken the taboo around this among rich countries.
Despite these positive moves, the Scottish government still stops short of publicly backing the need for fossil fuel exploration and extraction to end, and has missed several of its own emission reduction targets. We know that they need to do more.
By endorsing the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, the First Minister would signal a serious commitment to ending fossil fuel exploration and production off Scotland’s shores and send a message to other countries to do the same.
With Rishi Sunak’s visit to Scotland today, and the political posturing around oil and gas, the Scottish government needs to put clear blue water between themselves and the UK government by condemning the plans for oil and gas licenses and publicly endorsing a global plan for the phase-out of fossil fuels.