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DOUGLAS Ross has been accused of being a climate change denier, after he called for North Sea jobs to be given priority over green targets.
In a speech to oil workers in Aberdeen, Ross said “too much focus” has been put on managing the decline of the industry.
He also called for the Scottish and UK Governments to work more closely together and to establish a “North Sea Ministerial Working Group” and to join forces on a “North Sea Transition Deal”, matching each other’s funding commitments.
Ross said: “It’s right that we push to expand the renewables sector, we all want to meet our climate change commitments and achieve the net zero target by 2045.
“But there is far too much focus on managing the decline of the oil and gas industry.
“We need to prepare for the future but the priority for me is the 100,000 jobs in the sector right now.
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“My party will not throw away oil and gas jobs to achieve climate goals.
“Both of Scotland’s governments need to find new ways to work together on a more positive, bright future for the industry.”
The Scottish Greens energy and climate spokesperson Mark Ruskell said Ross’s comments were “dangerous”.
He said: “Douglas Ross engaging in anti-science climate change denial isn’t just depressing it is downright dangerous and will be dismissed by most Scots who acknowledge that the climate crisis is an urgent priority.
“Scotland has an abundance of renewable energy potential, yet the Scottish Tories seem determined to hitch our future to the fossil fuel relics of the past.
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“The Tory’s bizarre approach also lets the SNP off the hook for failing to capitalise on Scotland’s potential and deliver the quality, well-paid, unionised green jobs that we know can be created now.
“Most oil workers want to put their skills to work in Scotland’s renewables sector. But SNP and Tory governments have so far failed miserably to deliver on promised jobs.
“With the COP26 climate summit due to take place in Glasgow next year, and a new man in the White House who actually recognises the existential threat that is posed by the climate crisis there is a real opportunity for Scotland to play a leading role in tackling it.
“We need to see an emergency response from government that befits the climate emergency we face. Step one in that response should be to ignore the anti-science drivel espoused by the honourable member for Moray.”