North Sea oil and jobs should be prioritised over net zero energy targets, says Douglas Ross

Jobs in North Sea oil and gas should ‘absolutely be prioritised’ over net zero energy targets, the Scottish Conservative leader has said.

Douglas Ross also said addressing the climate emergency is “crucial” and the new UK Prime Minister has committed to addressing energy targets.

In an interview with BBC Good Morning Scotland, Mr Ross denied he was a “climate sceptic” like Jacob Rees-Mogg who has recently been appointed as energy and business secretary.

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Asked if North Sea jobs and oil drilling will be prioritised over meeting energy targets, Mr Ross said: “I think Scottish and UK North Sea oil and gas jobs should absolutely be prioritised. Rather than the SNP/Green approach to shut off the tab to decimate that industry then import American gas and Russian oil.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross responds to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's statement on the Programme for Government in the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood,
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"I’d like to see far more of that done here in Scotland and across the UK where we will benefit and Scotland and UK jobs will benefit."

The effects of carbon emission remain “much-debated”, according to Mr Rees-Mogg.

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Responding to this, Mr Ross said: “They are debated but I’m not questioning them.

"There are other ministers within the government who focus on other things specifically and Jacob Rees Mogg as the secretary will look at business, the industrial strategy, energy and will have other ministers working with him to deliver on this area.”

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Asked if he is a climate sceptic like Jacob Rees-Mogg, Mr Ross said: “No I’m not."

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The new Prime Minister will unveil her plans to help those struggling under the cost of living crisis as she is expected to announce household energy bills will be capped to £2,500 a year.

Businesses are also expected to gain support through the £100 billion cost of living plan.

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Douglas Ross, leader of the Scottish Conservatives said: “It’s a massive intervention. I predicted on Monday I think that we would get this type of announcement because Liz Truss has been very clear that this is a major issue affecting the country.”

John Swinney recently announced £500 million of cuts to balance the Scottish budget and help people with the energy crisis as there are calls for a larger block grant to be given to Scotland from the UK Government.

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Mr Ross said Scotland already has the largest block grant as he said the SNP and the Greens prioritise independence plans over those being impacted by the energy crisis.

The Scottish Conservative leader said he "always calls for more money to come into Scotland”, however, he does not want to see money “wasted on another independence referendum”.

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Mr Ross said it was crucial the UK does not “deter” further investment going forward through a windfall tax.

Asked if we can kiss goodbye to net zero energy targets, Mr Ross said: “No. The Prime Minister committed to meeting our net zero ambitions during the campaign and she’s been clear about that. She’s also re-appointed Alok Sharma as the COP26 president as we hand over the presidency to COP27 later. It’s also crucial, while there is still a need for energy, we have to ensure as much of that supply as possible is from as close to the United Kingdom as possible.”

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