Sturgeon’s independence dream shattered as revolt erupts after COP: ‘It’s just a mirage!’

Nicola Sturgeon pushes independence again at COP 26

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While Ms Sturgeon has commented that unlimited extraction of oil and gas would be “fundamentally wrong”, Scotland’s net zero secretary Michael Matheson admitted the country would continue to “require access” to oil and gas if it became independent. Now there appear to be fault lines through the very heart of the Scottish Government.

The Scottish Greens have hit out at Mr Matheson’s comments, saying that continuing to drill for new oil and gas in the North Sea if Scotland becomes independent does not “echo” Ms Sturgeon’s current rhetoric.

The First Minister has also said that the challenge for countries like Scotland, who has large oil and gas industries, is their “most difficult” aspect of tackling the climate crisis.

It comes after the SNP struck a power-sharing deal with the Greens.

It includes a commitment to hold a referendum on Scottish independence within the next five years, and preferably by the end of 2023.

Pamela Nash, chief executive of the pro-union campaign group Scotland in Union, has slammed Ms Sturgeon’s climate rhetoric for being a “mirage”.

She said: “While Nicola Sturgeon tries to grandstand on the world stage at COP26, her ministers admit that a separate Scotland would continue exploring and drilling for oil and gas.

“This shows the SNP’s green credentials are just a mirage and, as always, the nationalists are more interested in the constitutional division than working together to tackle the climate emergency.”

Ms Nash also hammered Mr Matheson’s defence of the White Paper published prior to the first independence referendum, which was in favour of a renewed oil and gas boom.

She said: “The 2014 White Paper, with its reliance on an oil boom, has been completely discredited – and the SNP should drop any plans for a rewrite and focus on what really matters to people.”

It comes as Environmental campaigners are urging the First Minister to reject the new Cambo oil field.

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, an alliance of environmental organisations, third sector groups and trade unions, warned that approving Cambo would “badly tarnish Scotland’s climate credentials.”

The letter also said the UK Government would be committing a “serious breach of global trust” if it does not step in.

The Oil and Gas Authority is currently considering whether to grant approval for the extraction of oil from the oilfield just off the west coast of Shetland.

The First Minister has previously urged the Prime Minister to review all existing oil and gas licenses where development has not taken place to ensure plans are in line with climate ambitions.

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The letter to the FM says: “Opening new oil fields, against the recommendations of the International Energy Agency, risks delaying necessary action towards building a renewable economy and increases the likelihood of a disorderly transition further down the line.”

It continued: “We urge you to quickly, clearly and publicly call for the rejection of Cambo and all new oil and gas projects and support a managed phase-out from the North Sea in line with keeping global temperature rises to 1.5ºC, while increasing renewables and ensuring a just transition for affected workers and communities.

“To take a stand now would demonstrate Scotland’s true leadership and commitment to climate justice ahead of COP26.”

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