Sturgeon blasted for posing with Greta Thunberg but refusing to join climate alliance

Nicola Sturgeon outlines Scotland's actions on climate change

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Two weeks ago, the First Minister said unlimited extraction of fossil fuels was not consistent with Scotland’s climate obligations, insisting the focus would be on the “fastest possible just transition for the oil and gas sector”. But the environmental campaigning organisation claimed despite these comments, the Scottish Government “snubbed the chance” to join a new Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance unveiled at the conference this afternoon (Thursday). The Scottish body said the country’s ministers had previously discussed the alliance in question with their Danish counterparts.

Denmark, along with Costa Rica are founding members of the group which campaigns for a shift away from the use of oil and gas. France, Ireland, Wales, New Zealand Quebec and Sweden are among some of the other members.

During COP26, Nicola Sturgeon has been pictured with the likes of leading climate activist Greta Thunberg and at a meeting last week said: “I promise you we will accelerate as far and as fast as we can the transition away from fossil fuels”.

Over recent days, the First Minister has warned large-scale emitters they must “step up” and also talked up Scotland’s “climate justice fund”, which aims to help countries manage the impacts of climate change.

But Friends of the Earth Scotland has been left furious that her Government has been “unwilling to join this new Alliance despite the burning of fossil fuels being the key driver of the climate crisis”.

Friends of the Earth Scotland Director Dr Richard Dixon said: “Nicola Sturgeon is keen to use the language of climate justice and be photographed with Greta Thunberg but at some point, her fine rhetoric has to translate into a commitment to stopping the oil and gas production that is driving the climate crisis.

“Refusing to join the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance is a failure to follow through on her Government’s recent change of position to no longer support unlimited oil and gas extraction.”

He added: “Instead of siding with oil and gas companies, the Scottish Government must ensure that people and communities working in oil and gas are at the heart of planning a fair and fast phase out of fossil fuels, whilst scaling up renewable energy to help create decent green jobs.

“It is great to see this Alliance putting the focus on fossil fuel phase out but it’s concerning to see many major big oil and gas producing nations unwilling to sign up.

“When you’re in a hole, you have to stop digging.

“To meet the 1.5C goal, we need to keep coal, oil and gas safe in the ground.”

On October 25, Ms Sturgeon had said the Scottish Government would no longer support unlimited recovery of hydrocarbons, including oil and gas.

A press release said the Scottish Government and Scottish Green Party Agreement “set out the position that countries around the world – including the UK – cannot continue with unlimited recovery of hydrocarbons if the aims of the Paris Agreement are to be met.

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“The focus will now be on achieving the fastest possible just transition for the oil and gas sector – one that delivers jobs and economic benefit, ensures our energy security, and meets our climate obligations”.

During a speech tO students at Strathclyde University on the same day, the First Minister said: “We must accept that unlimited recovery of hydrocarbons is not consistent with meeting the aims of the Paris Agreement.

“The transition to net zero can and will bring many opportunities for economic and environmental progress.

“Our commitment to supporting a Just Transition for Scotland, and for the oil and gas sector, will ensure that we assist the workforce to capture those future opportunities.

“In Scotland, our just transition will put fairness for workers and communities front and centre.

“That focus on justice and fairness will be central to Scotland’s approach to COP26.”

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