COP26: Patrick Harvie says 'Greens don't have same position' on drilling oil and gas in independent Scotland

Patrick Harvie has said that the Scottish Greens ‘don’t have the same position’ on drilling oil and gas as SNP if an independent Scotland were to happen following comments from Scotland’s Net Zero secretary

Patrick Harvie speaking at a COP26 event in Glasgow.
Patrick Harvie speaking at a COP26 event in Glasgow.

The Green’s co-leader told The Scotsman at COP26 that the Scottish Greens are against the extraction of new oil and gas.

His comments come after Scotland’s net zero secretary Michael Matheson said the country would continue to “require an access” to oil and gas if it became independent, justifying the continuation of new oilfields.

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Commenting on the issue at the climate talks in Glasgow on Thursday, Patrick Harvie told The Scotsman: "This is an issue where we’ve been very clear in the cooperation agreement.

“It’s an issue where the SNPs and the Greens don’t have a fully shared position.

"The Greens are very clear, as are the majority of the world’s climate experts including even the likes of the International Energy Authority who are saying no new oil and gas extraction.

"That’s our position and that’s the position of a great many people at the COP and I think that’s the position that all of the political landscape will get to as well.”

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Scottish independence: Independent Scotland would not stop drilling for oil and ...

Nicola Sturgeon had recently said it was “fundamentally wrong” for Scotland and other countries to continue exploring and extracting oil and gas until the last possible moment.

However, Mr Harvie added: "It was only a couple of months ago since every political party other than the Greens were supporting maximum economic extraction.

"That’s now dead as a policy it’s only the conservatives who have isolated it as a policy.

"That shift in the political landscapes hasn’t quite reached where the greens are at and I think a lot of people understand that two political parties can agree on some things and disagree on others and still try and find ways to work together constructively but I think everybody is going to have to arrive at the point in saying oil in gas is not in our future.”

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Asked if there will need to be drilling of oil and gas in the first years of an independent Scotland, Mr Harvie said: “We don’t support new expansions of licensed but undeveloped fields or of any new licenses, exsisting extraction will decline rapidly. If we’re successgful in this agenda of decarbonising our building stock then we won’t need that much gas.

"It will decline rapidly and it’s the speed of that decline in our use of fossil fuels that will matter more than how long the tail is because that tail will be at a very low level.”

Following the Greenpeace dispute where Mr Harvie said Greenpeace is unfairly criticising Nicola Sturgeon because it is “not particularly politically active in Scotland”, Mr Harvie said the Scottish Greens are ‘more plugged into the Scottish political agenda’ and his words had been lifted ‘out of context’, adding that he was a supporter and donor to Greenpeace.

Mr Harvie said: "I do think that we are more actively plugged into the Scottish political agenda than Greenpeace and I do think Greenpeace, understandably, look at issues such as Cambo in a UK context and don’t see it in a Scottish Parliament context.”

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