Independent Scotland's oil plans 'do not match Nicola Sturgeon's rhetoric', say Greens

Continuing to drill for new oil and gas in the North Sea if Scotland becomes independent does not “echo” the rhetoric from Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish Greens have said.

The comments from the SNP’s coalition partners 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.

Last week, the First Minister said continued unlimited extraction of oil and gas would be “fundamentally wrong”.

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Ms Sturgeon had also labelled the challenge for countries such as Scotland with large oil and gas industries as the “most difficult” question in regards to how they tackle climate change.

Michael Matheson said an independent Scotland would continue to drill for new oil and gas.Michael Matheson said an independent Scotland would continue to drill for new oil and gas.
Michael Matheson said an independent Scotland would continue to drill for new oil and gas.
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A spokesperson for the Scottish Greens claimed that with Greens co-leaders Lorna Slater and Patrick Harvie in government, Scotland is “finally facing up to the reality” of needing to reduce fossil fuel extraction.

They said: “While the Greens and SNP do not agree on the future of oil and gas, Mr Matheson’s comments do not echo what the First Minister has said ahead of COP, when she acknowledged that fossil fuel extraction cannot continue indefinitely.

“With Greens in government, Scotland is finally facing up to the reality that continual fossil fuel extraction, so-called ‘maximum economic recovery’, is incompatible with climate action.”

Pamela Nash, chief executive of the pro-union campaign group Scotland in Union, labelled the SNP’s climate rhetoric as a “mirage”.

She said: “While Nicola Sturgeon tries to grandstand on the world stage at COP26, her ministers admit that a separate Scotland would continue exploring and drilling for oil and gas.

“This shows the SNP’s green credentials are just a mirage and, as always, the nationalists are more interested in constitutional division than working together to tackle the climate emergency.”

Ms Nash also criticised Mr Matheson’s defence of the White Paper published prior to the first independence referendum, which leaned heavily on a future oil and gas boom.

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She said: “The 2014 White Paper, with its reliance on an oil boom, has been completely discredited – and the SNP should drop any plans for a rewrite and focus on what really matters to people.”

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