Scottish Greens blast Johnson’s energy strategy as “not fit for purpose”
Boris Johnson’s new Energy Security Strategy is not fit for purpose as it fails to tackle the cost of living crisis or heed warnings on the climate emergency, the Scottish Green Party has said. The government announced its Energy Security Strategy on April 7, following soaring energy prices and the accelerated need for energy independence following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The strategy’s headlines include commitments to delivering the equivalent of one new nuclear reactor per year, providing new licenses for oil and gas extraction in the North Sea and reducing the approval times for offshore wind farms.
According to the Scottish Greens, the UK Government proposal for a new oil and gas licensing round in the North Sea flies in the face of the UK’s climate obligations. The Greens also claim his ‘expensive fixation’ with new nuclear will be expensive and take decades to deliver. And the party has said the UK Government’s refusal to commit to significant onshore wind expansion is “cowardly”.
Commenting on the new strategy, the Scottish Green Party’s energy and climate spokesperson Mark Ruskell MSP said,
Boris Johnson’s energy strategy is not fit for purpose. It flies in the face of climate science and does nothing to support the millions of households who are facing sky high energy bills right now.
He continued by comparing the UK Government’s record on energy and the climate crisis with that of the Scottish Government, where the Greens hold ministerial office as part of a confidence and supply agreement with the SNP. Ruskell said,
With Greens in government here in Scotland we are taking action to tackle the cost of living crisis by introducing free bus travel for young people, doubling the Scottish Child Payment, while committing to make a million homes warmer and more energy efficient. This strategy presented another opportunity for the Westminster government to help those struggling most, but it seems it’s an opportunity missed.
The cooperation agreement which brought Greens into government in Scotland commits to doubling onshore wind here, but the Prime Minister is running scared of a few backbenchers by effectively keeping a ban in place in England. A commitment to new nuclear power will take decades to deliver costly energy, produce a toxic waste legacy, and apparently still deliver less energy than the Scottish Government’s ScotWind offshore programme. It simply doesn’t make sense.
Ruskell went on to highlight this contrast as an argument for Scottish independence. He said,
Scotland has 25% of all Europe’s offshore renewables potential. With independence we could lead Europe in the just transition to our renewables future. Instead, with the climate denying Tories in the driving seat it seems we’re going full speed ahead toward climate breakdown.
The government’s Energy Security Strategy comes just days after the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published its latest report. That report said that there are just thirty months left to ensure global greenhouse gas emissions begin to fall to mitigate the worst impacts of the climate crisis. It also said that all existing and planned fossil fuel projects in themselves set the world on a trajectory of more than 1.5 degrees of warming, before any new projects are established.
It’s completely bizarre that energy efficiency seems to be entirely missing from this strategy because the cheapest, greenest form of energy is the energy we don’t use. And at a time when millions of people are struggling to pay their fuel bills, we need to focusing on a massive scaling up of home insulation and making big progress on this before next winter.
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