Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

COP28: Humza Yousaf warned against unleashing ‘climate disaster’ with Peterhead plant

EXCLUSIVE: Activists warn Scotland faces a climate disaster for years to come if Humza Yousaf's government approves a major new fossil gas power station.

Humza Yousaf. Image: DC Thomson
Humza Yousaf. Image: DC Thomson

As Humza Yousaf prepares to talk up his green credentials on the world stage at COP28, climate campaigners warn the first minister risks locking Scotland into decades of fossil fuel dependency.

As we revealed previously, the SNP leader will fly to the United Arab Emirates for talks with global leaders at the conference, which begins on Thursday.

But closer to home, activists warn Scotland faces a climate disaster for years to come if Yousaf’s government approves a major new fossil gas power station in Peterhead.

Ministers are considering an application from energy giants SEE and Equinor to build a new gas-fired power station next to the existing plant in Aberdeenshire.

SSE confirmed in planning documents that the two plants will run at the same time and could increase total emissions from the site.

Would carbon capture work?

Official figures from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency show it is already the single worst polluter in Scotland over the past five years, belching out more than 1.35 million tonnes of carbon dioxide last year alone.

The developers say they will add carbon capture technology to the new station at a later date but a major report this week called on oil and gas companies to abandon the “illusion” of “implausibly large” carbon capture solutions.

Peterhead power station. Image: Supplied

Carbon capture and storage involves transporting emissions so they are unable to immediately affect the atmosphere, with the aim of mitigating global warming.

But campaigners say there are no plants anywhere in the world working at the scale promised in Peterhead.

They argue the technology gives oil and gas companies an excuse to continue extracting fossil fuels while claiming a solution is just around the corner.

Deadly impacts have arrived

Friends of the Earth Scotland’s climate campaigner Alex Lee said: “From Brechin to Bangladesh, the deadly impacts of the climate crisis have arrived, and the Scottish Government cannot add even more fuel to the fire by undermining the transition to renewables and allowing the building of new fossil fuel infrastructure.

“Fossil fuels are driving the cost-of-living crisis yet this Peterhead expansion plan would continue to trap people in paying energy prices set by the volatile global gas market.

“Renewable energy is more affordable, reliable and can deliver greater benefits across Scottish communities.

Climate activists and others hold banners and signs as they march during a demonstration ahead of a G7 meeting in Munich. AP Photo/Matthias Schrader

“The cynical push for carbon capture that will be seen at COP28 is little more than attempted greenwash from a fossil fuel industry whose business model only produces ever more extreme weather impacts and obscene profits for wealthy shareholders.”

The Scottish Government will have the final say on whether plans for the new gas-fired power station in Peterhead go ahead.

Plans are ‘entirely inconceivable’

We revealed previously the huge lobbying operation by fossil fuel interests in Scotland, including more than 100 meetings with Scottish politicians pushing what campaigners describe as expensive and inefficient technologies.

Nicola Sturgeon in the Action Zone during the Cop26 summit in Glasgow. Picture date: Thursday November 11, 2021.

The International Energy Agency warned this week that if fossil fuel use continues under current projections, energy firms would need to capture and store an “entirely inconceivable” 32 billion tonnes of carbon and remove 23 billion tonnes via direct air capture by 2050 to stop the global temperature rising 1.5C above preindustrial levels.

It would require more electricity than is used by the entire world today.

IEA executive director Fatih Birol said the energy industry is facing a moment of truth at the global climate conference in Dubai.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said investing in new fossil fuel infrastructure is “moral and economic madness”.

What does the government say?

Energy Minister Gillian Martin said it would be inappropriate to comment on a live application.

She added: “The Scottish Government is committed to Scotland becoming a net zero nation by 2045.

Gillian Martin MSP, Minister for Energy. Image: DC Thomson

“Our draft Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan sets out firmly our opposition to the continued use of unabated fossil fuels to generate electricity, while our updated Climate Change Plan contains more than 200 policies to reduce emissions across all sectors, including energy, in line with this bold ambition.”

SSE Thermal said carbon capture technology will be essential to decarbonising the power system on the way to net zero and that this is recognised by both the Scottish and UK governments.

It said decarbonising Peterhead – the UK’s only flexible power station north of Leeds – if of utmost importance, which is why it continues to progress plans.

A spokesman added: “The new plant, which would connect into the wider CCS infrastructure being developed by UK Government, will ultimately replace the existing station, which we have already said we don’t foresee running unabated beyond the end of this decade.

“This will deliver huge emissions reductions and the reality is the project will not proceed unless it can capture at least 90% of emissions.

“Indeed, we are working to secure even higher capture rates.

“Ultimately, Peterhead Carbon Capture Power Station will help to keep the lights on, facilitate the transition to net zero and create jobs in the region.”