Readers' Letters: Tories betrayed Scotland over carbon capture

The St Fergus carbon capture projectThe St Fergus carbon capture project
The St Fergus carbon capture project
In 2014 just before the independence referendum Nick Clegg, David Cameron and Ed Davey all came to Peterhead and announced £100 million for a carbon capture and storage facility to tackle climate change. This was sold as one of the “benefits” of the Union, with £1 billion and a jobs bonanza “promised”.

Once Scotland voted to remain in the United Kingdom the Westminster Government promptly cancelled the contract. This was done purely for political reasons.In 2021 the St Fergus gas terminal was in line to set up a similar scheme. It would have been able to help reduce carbon emissions and been part of the process of decarbonising the Scottish economy. It would have brought 21,000 jobs to North-East Scotland. The Tories again have pulled the plug,preferring to funnel the money down South.

It is an indisputable fact that both of these schemes would have gone ahead had Scotland been a normal independent country. Instead, Scotland is shackled to a deluded rampant English nationalist Tory clown cartel. They are virulently anti-Scottish and seek to harm Scotland to prevent any example of Scotland having better governance than Westminster.

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The shortages within the labour force of the Scottish economy are all because of the Tory Unionist philosophy of Ayn Rand that greed is the only thing that matters. The basic infrastructure of Scotland has been run down by the Tory oligarchy. Their only interest is debt and speculation-fuelled enlargement of their personal fortunes. Tory Unionism has no desire to have even minimal basic services and infrastructure. Things such as an adequately paid and trained workforce are an anathema to the Tory Unionists.

The Tories, the free-market and the Union have all self-evidently failed Scotland. All the Tories have to offer is nostalgia, appeals to empire and the "Royal" Family and a more visible flying of the Butchers Apron. There needs to be a visible campaign for an independence referendum early next year.

Alan Hinnrichs, Dundee

A nation snubbed

The UK government’s decision to snub Scotland and give carbon capture funding priority to the north west of England, which is in the wrong side of the country, is just the latest mismanagement of Scotland’s oil and gas bonanza by London politicians and further evidence of Tory pork barrel politics.

Scotland’s North Sea produces 96 per cent of the UK’s crude oil production and 65 per cent of the UK’s natural gas and, as Scottish businessman Sir Ian Wood states, “Scotland is the most cost-effective place to begin carbon capture storage in the UK given the capacity in the North Sea and the existing oil and gas infrastructure”.

Prior to the 2014 independence referendum Ed Davey, then UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary, dangled the prospect of carbon capture investment and we were told that Scotland benefits from other competitions and grants provided by the UK Government “such as a programme to support the commercialisation of carbon capture and storage”.

Westminster controls energy policy, and we are also missing out on offshore wind farm jobs while the UK government is investing up to £100 million in supporting the manufacturing of wind turbine blades in Hull. Green hydrogen is the energy fuel of the future and there are at least three companies in England manufacturing electrolysers – but none in Scotland.

Despite earning hundreds of billions from Scotland’s oil revenues, successive UK governments have failed to invest significant amounts in Scotland’s renewable industries and allowed Denmark and Norway to become world leaders when an independent Scotland would surely have given priority to the sustainable transition into renewable energy.

Fraser Grant, Edinburgh

Blame ourselves

In 2006, the year before he became First Minister, I sat opposite my old school colleague, Alex Salmond, on the train from Edinburgh to Aberdeen. He talked about Scotland being the “Saudi Arabia of renewables” and I was impressed, especially as he took a call from BP to discuss his ideas for a carbon capture centre in Peterhead. He later sent me his PowerPoint presentation so my son could show it to his science teacher. The proposal was rejected as non-viable.

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In those days I was increasingly dismayed by the moribund Labour-Lib Dems coalition at Holyrood and thought Alex Salmond might shake things up, but what we got was a 15-year shakedown of the best of Scotland and a moribund government and opposition.

So is it any wonder that, when north-east England now has a cohort of dynamic MP's campaigning for investment and jobs, and we have 48 SNP MPs determined to break up the UK, who can't bring themselves to team up with local conservative MPs and whose wind farm fixated boss, Nicola Sturgeon, sits back while the Greens campaign to shut down the oil and gas industry, Boris Johnson goes with the enthusiastic, well-supported option?

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven, Kincardineshire

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Fury as Scotland misses out on UK Government backing for first carbon capture an...

COP conflict

In my letter of 14 October I remarked on EM Forster's The Machine Stops and its relevance to contemporary technology in presenting the image as substitute for the reality of human contact to a population of human beings increasingly isolated from one another. For lack of space I did not mention that when Vashti speaks in person to her son, the only possible reason that she can imagine for his interest in stars is that their arrangement may have given him an "idea". In fact, the theme of "ideas" (not first-hand but derived through generations of scholars reworking the opinions of a succession of previous writers) runs through the book.

By one of those quirks of coincidence, the same day The Scotsman carried a photograph of Nicola Sturgeon addressing TED, an international platform for the discussion and development in 100 languages of "ideas" regarding global issues among people from every discipline and culture who seek "the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately the world". Her speech suggested no original thinking; only the usual commitments to equality and (obliquely) to independence. The following day, however, your pages carried an announcement of Scotland's unique Unesco trail, another lure for cars and campervans, introduced in haste to impress the delegates at COP26 – a conflict of ideas, surely?

Mary Rolls, Jedburgh, Scottish Borders

From your lips...

I thank Rev Dr Donald M MacDonald for his thoughts on assisted dying (Letters, 20 October) in which he responds to our feeling that much Christian opposition is based on religious dictate. He flags up legitimate concerns about the new bills. Might simple depression cause individuals to seek state assisted suicide? Good palliative and mental healthcare must remain paramount. As Rev Dr MacDonald eloquently identifies, views on this issue cross religious and secular divides, but his case is weakened by his own words: “As a Christian I believe that God is sovereign over all of life and truth”.

Your god Sir, your life and your truth.

Neil Barber, Edinburgh Secular Society

Question of cost

“Kerry's talk” (Editorial, 20 October) will count for little if the BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – fail to attend the COP26 conference as it means that Western nations require to meet the challenge of reducing the current 20p/unit price of renewable energy to less than 4p/unit to compete with countries such as Germany, Poland and BRIC that still rely on producing the bulk of their electricity from coal-fired power stations.

Closer to home, how does Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie propose that an owner of a flat can afford £40,000 to replace their gas boiler, or the 30 per cent of Scots living in fuel poverty can meet a £6,000 a year energy bill once a ban on gas is introduced by Holyrood? To charge electric vehicles requires a fourfold increase in the current output of 50 TWhours a year of energy but is there a plan that, by keeping the costs of electric cars higher than their fossil fuel competitors, only the rich can afford such a luxury and the poor will be pushed out of the ownership market, thus reducing demand and hence the capital costs of installation of wind turbines?

Quite simply, until there is a massive reduction in the costs of renewable energy, then the economy will be unable to afford the implementation of COP26 policies. After all, what Mr Harvie failed to point out to homeowners is that the £33 billion project he announced at a Green Party conference was just the first phase of a £150bn project – a debt equivalent to 100 per cent of Scottish GDP!

Ian Moir, Castle Douglas, Dumfries & Galloway

Not Russian here

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Did anyone really think Vladimir Putin was going to come to COP26? Scott Morrison i s only coming because the Australians pressured him. Was anyone ever going to compel Putin? I think nyet.

Steve Hayes, Leven, Fife

Misplaced blame

Grant Frazer (Letters, 20 October) berates the UK government for implementing Brexit "in the middle of a pandemic”. Let me remind him that Brexit came into force on 22 January 2020. The Covid-19 outbreak was not officially declared a pandemic by WHO until 11 March of that year.

It is also worth remembering that vaccines would not have been available so quickly if we had remained in the EU . Brexit no doubt played some part in our current supply problems but this can easily (but too lengthily for the present) be argued as being relatively small.

(Dr) A McCormick, Dumfries

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