Nuclear should be ‘part of the mix’ of Scottish energy says Anas Sarwar as he sets out climate policies
The Scottish Labour leader set out the party’s climate policies on Friday, including a pledge to ensure every Scottish home has an energy efficiency rating of C or higher by 2030.
He also called for a statutory Just Transition Commission to be established to help workers move out of the oil and gas industry.
He visited the Shettleston Community Growing Project in Glasgow, taking an electric bus to reach the allotment site.
Speaking to journalists before the visit, he said his party would push the Scottish and UK governments to go “further and faster” in delivering climate promises.
He said: “We want to talk about a jobs-first transition, because there’s no such thing as a just transition that sacrifices entire communities and makes tens of thousands of people unemployed.”
Asked about nuclear power, he said: “I think we have to be honest about future opportunities and I think nuclear power has to be part of the mix.
“I’m not saying nuclear power has to be the priority, or the lead.
“But it has to be part of the mix to have a diverse energy supply.
“The idea that we can shut down industries, and instead import energy – it’s not good for security, it’s not good for jobs and it’s not good for affordability.”
Saying the public would not welcome increased energy bills to pay for the transition, he said: “I want to take the public with us, I don’t want to sacrifice jobs, and I think that means having a credible energy policy.”
Mr Sarwar was asked about the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance, a group of countries and regions who seek to phase out fossil fuels, which the Scottish Government is considering joining.
He said: “What we’re really good at in Scotland is signing up to big, bold pledges a long way down the road but not doing the work in the here and now.
“Of course we want to transition away from the oil and gas industry, but signing up to a statement is in itself not enough.
“So yes, that shows some of the thinking, but how we’re doing the work right now making the investment right now to create those jobs is the more important part and I don’t think the Scottish and UK governments are taking that seriously yet.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon came under fire this week for announcing her opposition to the proposed Cambo oil field just off the coast of Shetland.
She said: “I don’t think we can go on extracting new oil and gas forever, so I don’t think that Cambo should get the green light.”
Earlier this week, a Scottish Labour amendment in a Scottish Parliament debate proposed upgrading a number of roads across Scotland.
Asked if this would lead to higher demand for car travel, Mr Sarwar said road safety is still “really, really important” and many roads are not fit for purpose.He said: “The idea we can pretend we don’t need roads any more – or safe roads any more – is just not credible and I don’t think the public would believe it.”
A message from the Editor:Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.
If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.
Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.