The Cambo oil field development and the wider issue of fossil fuels are becoming quite the hot potatoes for the governments at Westminster and Holyrood.
Both resurfaced on Wednesday in a Ted Talk by Nicola Sturgeon. Although listeners are unlikely to be any clearer about what happens now.
The First Minister reiterated her position that the UK Government should reassess licences to extract oil and gas from the North Sea.
That includes plans for the Cambo field off Shetland.
But she also said it would be folly to turn off the supply of oil and gas in the short-term. Here she cited import costs and the jobs that would be lost as a result.
Looking forward to taking part in @TEDCountdown summit in Edinburgh today, ahead of #COP26. I’ll be highlighting how important the leadership, ambition and actions of small nations are in the fight against climate change. https://t.co/nbsMDBBTAy
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) October 13, 2021
It’s true that there is some distance to be made up on the route to a “just transition” from oil and gas jobs to those in renewables set out by the SNP and the Greens.
Perhaps the energy crisis and rapidly rising household bills will help to focus minds on either side of the border.
But there is only so long we can continue to kick these issues down the road.
Fossil fuels cast shadow over COP26
The COP26 climate summit in Glasgow is just days away.
The UK will host 30,000 delegates from almost 200 nations and territories.
The eyes of the world will be on us.
For Boris Johnson’s government to be backing a new drilling permit for Cambo, allowing the extraction of 170m barrels of oil between now and 2047, seems embarrassingly off-message at best.
And for Nicola Sturgeon’s government to be so equivocal on that and the wider question of fossil fuel extraction? That’s not a great look either.
“The leadership of small nations matters too”, she told her Ted Talk audience.
There might never be a better time to prove it.