by Fiona Grahame
Scottish independence: Sir Ian Wood issues warning over oil predictions – BBC News 20th August 2014
Rosebank oil field will boost energy security – Rishi Sunak – BBC News 29th September 2023
Just 9 years apart, but strangely oil reserves in Scotland’s waters have suddenly become a valuable resource which in 2014 were thought to be of limited value to a nation of 5.5million people when a referendum was taking place to determine whether or not the citizens would opt to become an independent nation and chart their own course apart from the UK.
The first headline, issued during the Scottish Independence referendum in 2014, was taken from the views of Sir Ian Wood, considered to be an expert in the Oil Industry and who had published the UK Government’s Wood Report. The report was used to discredit claims that Scotland would have a viable economy if no longer part of the UK.
The second headline follows the go ahead by the UK Regulator to commence operations West of Shetland at Rosebank, estimated to contain up to 300 million barrels of oil.
This policy of oil extraction flies in the face of the UK’s commitments to address the Climate Emergency and fatally undermines the work the Scottish Government has been doing to move away from fossil fuels and the massive potential. Scotland has in developing its Renewable Energy sector. .
Last week the Scottish and Welsh Governments wrote to the UK Government for an urgent summit chaired by the independent Climate Change Committee.
In a statement on 20th September, 2023, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:
“I’m announcing today that we’re going to ease the transition to electric vehicles. You’ll still be able to buy petrol and diesel cars and vans until 2035. Even after that, you’ll still be able to buy and sell them second-hand.
“I’m announcing today that we will give people far more time to make the necessary transition to heat pumps.
“And nor will we ban new oil and gas in the North Sea which would simply leave us reliant on expensive, imported energy from foreign dictators like Putin.
“We’re lifting the ban on onshore wind. We’re investing in four new clusters to capture and store carbon from the atmosphere. And we’re building new nuclear power stations for the first time in thirty years.
“This country is proud to be a world leader in reaching Net Zero by 2050.”
The letter from both the Welsh and Scottish Governments expressed their disappointment to the Prime Minister’s statement announcing that the UK Government is significantly changing course on key net zero commitments. The letter states:
The Rosebank Oil Field was granted consent for the development of the field on 27 September by The North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) just days later. It will be developed by Equinor and Ithaca Energy.
The field will be developed with subsea wells tied back to a redeployed Floating Production Storage and Offloading vessel (FPSO), with start-up planned in 2026-2027. Oil will be transported to refineries by shuttle tankers, while gas will be exported through the West of Shetland Pipeline system to mainland Scotland.
Meanwhile on 20th of September 2023, on the same day that the UK Prime Minister rolled back on his government’s commitments, UN Secretary-General António Guterres issued a stark warning about the dire consequences of inaction in his impassioned address on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly to politicians, business, activists and civil society leaders.
With extreme weather events accelerating, “humanity has opened the gates to hell,” said the Secretary-General, describing distressing scenes of farmers helplessly watching crops washed away by floods, the emergence of virulent disease due to rising temperatures, and the mass exodus of people fleeing historic wildfires.
“We can still build a world of clear air, green jobs, and affordable clean power for all.”
The Secretary-General spoke of the need for more climate justice, recognizing the anger felt by many of the world’s poorest nations disproportionately affected by a crisis they did not cause.
“Many of the poorest nations have every right to be angry,” he added, explaining that promised finance had not materialized while the costs of borrowing remain sky-high.
“All parties must operationalize the Loss and Damage Fund at COP28,” he urged and reminded the developed countries must meet the $100 billion commitment, replenish the Green Climate Fund, and double adaptation funding.
Creating early warning systems for everyone by 2027 is a must, too.
Days later 24th of September 2023 60,000 advocates, artists, influencers and concerned citizens were in New York’s iconic Central Park where they heard the deputy UN chief issue a clarion call to mobilize for change.
Amina Mohammed, highlighted the race to reach the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), end the climate crisis, and push for real gender equality.
The Deputy Secretary-General acknowledged that many around the world are hurting both in “mind and body”, with wars raging, and the planet not just warming – but boiling.
“Leaders are really struggling to use their power to keep the promises of the Global Goals and they risk breaking that promise to billions of people”, she said.
The good news is with seven years remaining to 2030, the game can still be won in the second half, but “we can’t win unless we stop our world from heating up.”
Scotland made a choice in 2014 when 55% of the voters opted to remain in the UK but did they really think that we would be following the disastrous course that we are now on? Taken out of the European Union despite having voted to remain in it with the massive loss of funding and opportunities that the world’s largest free trade area provided. The appalling rhetoric emanating from the UK Home secretary Suella Braverman attacking the UN’s convention for protecting refugees. An internationally agreed definition which has saved millions of lives. And now this turn around on strategies which were part of our international climate change pledges.
On this International Day of Non-Violence and the birth date of Mahatma Ghandi a quote from him comes to mind because it does not have to be this way. All of these politicians leading us down this path of climate disaster and intolerance towards others are elected by us and next year, 2024 is a General Election year.