Scottish Greens accused of being 'out-of-step' in opposing nuclear power
The Scottish Greens are being accused of being “out of step” with the rest of the world over their opposition to nuclear energy.
At the COP28 climate summit, which is currently underway in Dubai, 22 nations including the UK pledged to triple nuclear energy capacity by 2050, claiming this could be critical to cutting carbon emissions to near zero.
However Patrick Harvie, co-leader of the Scottish Greens, has defended his party’s opposition to nuclear power being generated in Scotland, saying it is “too risky” and “too expensive” when compared to renewables.
The Scottish Conservatives say his “illogical opposition” will mean Scots will lose out on high-paid jobs and investment.
Speaking on BBC The Sunday Show, Mr Harvie said: “I’m not here to judge any country that doesn’t have an abundance of renewable resources for looking at other options.
“Nuclear is always risky and expensive - the price not just for constructing Hinkley [Point Power Station in Somerset], but the cost of the electricity supply afterwards is hugely more than clean, green renewables.
“It is expensive and takes a long time to build.
“I don’t think nuclear is the solution for Scotland.
“Our problem is not generating capacity, the problem is in decarbonising the way we use energy, getting energy where it needs to be, and storage.”
The zero carbon buildings minister added: “Nuclear would take too long, is too expensive, I don’t think the waste management issue has been fully resolved, and it’s not where Scotland’s advantage lies.”
He added the Scottish Government’s commitment to renewables will “bring huge numbers of jobs” which are “high paid” and “rewarding”, and will be better in the long-run for people living in Scotland and for the planet.
Mr Harvie’s comments have since been criticised by opposition parties, who say this stance will cost jobs and the environment.
This comes after UK Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho said the Scottish Government’s opposition to new nuclear power stations is “plain wrong”.
Douglas Lumsden MSP, the Scottish Conservatives’ net zero, energy and transport spokesman, said: “It’s becoming ever more clear that the SNP-Green government’s narrow-minded opposition to new nuclear is out-of-step with experts and the rest of the world.
“If we are to have a chance of meeting our ambitious net zero targets, nuclear power will have an essential role to play in our energy future.
“Yet while Green minister Patrick Harvie seems to be perfectly happy to take nuclear power produced in the rest of the UK from the grid, the SNP-Green government remains illogically opposed to nuclear industry, investment or jobs coming to Scotland.
“With three-quarters of the global economy - including the UK Government - now backing nuclear power, experts have warned Scotland could end up ‘painfully isolated’ as a result.
“However, the SNP seem determined to make Scotland lose out on the jobs, economic boost and environmental benefits this industry will bring.”
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