At least £1 billion of North Sea revenues should be set aside to help areas heavily dependent on oil and gas make the switch to a greener economy, Nicola Sturgeon has argued.
The Scottish First Minister and SNP leader wants to see areas such as Aberdeen and the north-east of Scotland “supported to make the transition to new low or no carbon industries”.
With the Office for Budget Responsibility having forecast the UK’s oil and gas sector will raise £8.5 billion in revenue over the next five years, the SNP is calling for that cash to be ring-fenced in its entirety, to fund efforts to tackle the climate crisis.
As part of that, Ms Sturgeon argued at least £1 billion should be set aside to support a “just transition” for areas like the north-east, Falkirk and Shetland where the oil and gas industry is a major employer.
She said: “The SNP will never argue for the oil and gas industry to be shut down overnight.”
The First Minister, campaigning in Aberdeen in the run-up to next month’s General Election, said: “We must do everything in our power to tackle the climate crisis and Scotland has set the most ambitious legal targets in the world.
“But we also have to ensure that areas like the north-east of Scotland, where the economy has been built on the oil and gas industry, are supported to make the transition to new low or no carbon industries.”
SNP ministers have already put through legislation committing Scotland to achieving net zero emissions by 2045 – five years ahead of the UK target.
Ms Sturgeon said while areas such as Aberdeen and the north-east were already “playing a major part in Scotland’s renewables revolution”, ring-fencing cash from oil and gas revenues and investing it in a net-zero fund could help “deliver real benefits to these communities and to our environment”.
The First Minister continued: “The SNP has long argued that revenues from oil and gas should be invested for the long term, rather than fund day-to-day spending.
Westminster failed to set up an oil fund, where Norway’s is now worth one trillion dollars and is investing hugely in the low carbon economy.
“We should seize the opportunity to ensure we do not waste future revenues in the same way.
“We need to take urgent action to diversify our transport and energy sources, and to speed that up, tax revenues from oil and gas should be invested directly in the transition.”