Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been widely condemned for vowing to quickly transition the country away from oil and gas, just a few years after she claimed North Sea oil would fund Scottish independence.
Speaking on Monday, just a few days before the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference comes to Glasgow, Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister pledged to move Scotland away from oil.
Sturgeon said the understanding that “unlimited extraction of fossil fuels… is not consistent with our climate obligations,” and vowed to make the “fastest possible transition” away from oil and gas, which accounts for a vast proportion of the Scottish economy.
The first minister claimed that the Scottish government would publish a “catch-up plan” this week, highlighting the country’s move towards a greener future and away from an oil industry that employs some 150,000 people. The nation as a whole has 2.6 million people in work.
However, the first minister’s green pledge hasn’t gone down too well, with many highlighting that her Scottish National Party had tried to sell Scotland’s independence from Britain in 2014 on the basis that oil would make the nation rich. The party also claimed oil prices would likely average some $110 a barrel.
“I thought independence depended upon her oil and gas revenue,” one person wrote on Twitter, asking “has she given up on the idea.” Others concurred, questioning what their plan would be now if an independent Scotland couldn’t rely on the oil industry to make it “economically viable.” Another person said the SNP U-turn “beggars belief.”
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Some asked what Scotland planned on exporting if it wasn’t producing oil. “Haggis, shortbread, whiskey and those ginger wig hats,” one person jibed.
Others claimed the move would hit them hard. “That’s my property value going through the floor along with my job,” one person chimed in, while others said it was the final nail in the coffin for Aberdeen – Scotland’s oil and gas hub.
The SNP government has been under substantial pressure in recent months after it remained neutral on drilling at the Cambo oil field. While decisions relating to oil are Westminster’s decision and not Edinburgh’s, Sturgeon fears upsetting thousands of oil and gas workers by announcing her opposition to the programme. She was accused of hiding behind the prime minister as to avoid making an unpopular decision.
The UK remains a sizeable oil producer despite declining reserves and a move to reduce operations around the country. With investment in new projects declining, Britain has become a net importer of oil products in the 21st century.
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