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Nicola Sturgeon: My commitment to oil and gas workforce is crystal clear

Nicola Sturgeon said the climate talks at COP26 affected the debate in Scotland.

Last week’s Scottish Budget reaffirmed our unwavering commitment to a just transition towards net zero, investing record levels in projects that will ensure a greener, fairer future for Scotland.

It is a budget that comes hot on the heels of the world’s largest climate conference held last month in my home city of Glasgow.

Though the protesters have gone home and the banners have been packed away, it would be wrong to suggest that COP26 has not affected the discussion we are having right now in Scotland about how we tackle the very real and pressing climate emergency, while also protecting livelihoods.

Following the agreement of the Glasgow Climate Pact, I said it is leaders who must shoulder responsibility.

We will not allow the mistakes of the past to be repeated.

– Nicola Sturgeon

If countries, including Scotland, really are to deliver on our commitments to keep 1.5 degrees alive then business as usual is not good enough – we need boldness, courage and a willingness to do things differently.

The need to reduce reliance on fossil fuels in a way that is fair and just is critical. It is a journey Scotland has already embarked on and needs to accelerate.

Oil and gas workforce is ‘crucial’

And that has inevitably led to an acute focus on what this means for our highly skilled and valued oil and gas workforce, which is such a crucial part of the North-east and wider Scottish economy.

Let me be crystal clear about my commitment to supporting the industry make the transition that is needed and to securing jobs in the region for the long-term.

My government is focused on achieving the fastest possible just transition for the oil and gas sector – one that delivers jobs and ensures our energy security, as well as meeting our climate obligations.

Nicola Sturgeon, visiting Aberdeen in May to unveil plans for an Oil and Gas Decommissioning Fund.

We will not allow the mistakes of the past to be repeated. Indeed, far from deserting the sector, we are already investing in its net zero transformation.

This includes an expanded £75 million Energy Transition Fund, through which we are directly investing in the technologies of the future.

As announced in the Budget, next year we will be committing the first £20 million of our £500 million Just Transition Fund to support Moray and the north-east of Scotland become a centre of excellence for the transition to a net zero economy.

‘Bold action’ for the climate

The investment will support transformation across the region and workers will play a key role in how the funds are spent. We have repeatedly called on the UK Government to match our funding.

Our financial investment underpins the bold action we are taking to respond to the climate emergency.

Scotland already has a hugely positive story to tell on renewables, which provided the equivalent of 96% of Scotland’s gross electricity consumption in 2020.

Our ambitions for the next decade include a 10-fold increase in installed offshore wind capacity – enough to power more than 8 million homes – and to more than double the country’s onshore wind capacity by 2030.

Work to engage and collaborate with those who stand to be most impacted by the transition to net zero will begin in earnest early in the new year.

-Nicola Sturgeon

We expect the outcome of the ScotWind leasing round to be announced early next year, giving business and investors further confidence to invest in Scotland’s huge potential to become a powerhouse of renewable energy.

In the spring we will deliver our first Just Transition Plan as part of a refreshed Energy Strategy, setting out how the economic and social impacts of the transition will be managed.

Work to engage and collaborate with those who stand to be most impacted by the transition to net zero will begin in earnest early in the new year.

St Fergus was snubbed in the first round for a carbon capture scheme.

However, not every lever that will determine our transition to net zero is within Scotland’s gift. We will continue to press the UK Government to reverse what, to my mind, is a completely illogical decision not to award the Scottish Cluster clear and definitive Track-1 status in its carbon cluster sequencing process.

The north-east, with its huge energy infrastructure, skills base and experience is uniquely well-placed to help deliver this project. So the UK Government’s move is a decision which significantly compromises our ability to take crucial near-term action to reduce emissions – not just in Scotland, but across the UK.

We have told the UK Government that we would help to support the Scottish Cluster, and continue to stand ready to deliver on that commitment.

I firmly believe that by working together, we can ensure a prosperous and sustainable future for this and future generations – both in the north east and beyond.

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