Yousaf seeks to end Aberdeen’s reign as oil and gas capital of Europe

First Minister Humza Yousaf

SCOTLAND will transition from Europe’s oil and gas capital to its net-zero capital as it provides “moral leadership” on the climate crisis, Humza Yousaf has claimed.

The first minister said his government was “putting money where our mouth is” during a speech at a New York Climate Week event.

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Meanwhile, Mairi McAllan, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Net Zero and Just Transition, raised doubts over whether Rosebank, the country’s largest untapped oil field, off the coast of Shetland, should go ahead.

Mr Yousaf was the keynote speaker at an event on “financing climate justice”.

He warned countries in the global south who had contributed least to global CO2 emissions were bearing the brunt of the climate emergency.

“We are collectively guilty of catastrophic negligence and our children have every right to be angry and they have every right, quite frankly, not to forgive us if we do not step up,” the SNP leader said.

He announced an extra £800,000 of funding, in partnership with the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund, to help the victims of Storm Freddy in Malawi.

The first minister also said the government would partner with the Climate Justice Resilience Fund to deliver £5million for a non-economic loss and damage programme.

A further £1million is to be provided to address loss and damage through the Humanitarian Emergency Fund.

Mr Yousaf said it meant Scotland was fulfilling its pledge from COP27 to commit £7million to countries hit hardest by the climate crisis.

“We will transition from being the oil and gas capital of Europe to unleashing our renewable potential and becoming the net-zero capital of the world,” Mr Yousaf added.

“We will show moral leadership and ensure funding for loss and damage is not just pledged but paid and I would urge other nations to join us. The very existence of humanity depends on it.”

One of the key debates about the UK’s climate ambitions is over Rosebank, the country’s largest untapped oil field, off the coast of Shetland.

Speaking to the BBC, Ms McAllan stressed that the Scottish Government did not hold powers over licensing such sites.

She added: “It’s an evidence-based approach that we want to see taken by UK government including a very strict climate compatibility test, and if Rosebank can’t meet a strict climate compatibility test I see no reason why it should go ahead.”

Commenting on the speech, Andrew Bowie, Scottish Conservative MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, said:

“The SNP and Greens must surely despise the North East if this is their plan for it.

“As long as we need domestic production of oil and gas, the Scottish Government has to support our industry and tens of thousands of jobs locally. 

“But Humza Yousaf would rather offshore our climate obligations, rather than read up on what’s being achieved by the likes of the North Sea Transition Deal.

“He is beyond clueless as to what’s actually happening in Aberdeen and the wider north east.

“Mr Yousaf has shown himself to be as economically illiterate as his discredited predecessor.”

Click here to read Humza Yousaf’s speech in full.

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