Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham has urged the UK Government to fund carbon capture and storage facilities as she called for a “shared national endeavour” to tackle climate change.
Addressing Holyrood, Ms Cunningham said reacting to the “global climate emergency” must be “hardwired into our national psyche” as she called on everyone to help save the planet.
She urged UK ministers to take “urgent and decisive action” to develop green technologies such as carbon capture, use and storage – and said the North Sea’s oil expertise makes Scotland the “logical location” for the development of such technology.
“The UK Government must identify funding to deliver its commitment to build the first CCUS (Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage) facility in the UK by 2025 and must commit to more than one cluster across the UK,” Ms Cunningham told MSPs.
“With our North Sea assets and infrastructure, Scotland is the logical location for such clusters.”
But Scottish Green MSP Mark Ruskell warned that his party would not enter budget negotiations unless climate change and a Green New Deal – ending over reliance on oil and gas – were at its heart.
“The Greens will not support any future Scottish Government budget unless it puts a Green New Deal to tackle the climate crisis at its heart,” Mr Ruskell said.
Ms Cunningham said she had yet to receive an answer from the UK Government to her request for an urgent meeting to discuss climate change targets.
At the SNP conference last month, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon declared a climate emergency and said that Scotland would continue to “lead by example” on tackling the issue.
The Scottish Government has set a target of net-zero emissions by 2045 – an aim described by experts as the “most ambitious in the world”.
It followed recommendations set out by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) that Scotland should meet the target five years ahead of the UK in 2050.
Last week, the government scrapped plans to cut the amount of tax paid by passengers flying from Scottish airports and announced a deposit return scheme for drinks containers.
Ms Cunningham said the Scottish Government would host a summit with industries to identify ways which businesses can become more environmentally friendly.
The environment secretary also mentioned plans for rail-freight industry funding, supporting low-carbon farming practices, and granting funding for e-bikes, as steps towards combating climate change.