Scotland cannot completely turn off the supply of oil and gas in the short term, Nicola Sturgeon told a climate change talk ahead of COP26.
The first minister warned the country has to be careful not to “switch domestic production to imports of oil and gas”, describing such a move as “counter productive”.
Giving a TED Talk in Edinburgh, ahead of next month’s COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, the SNP leader again refused to voice opposition to the Cambo oil field development near Shetland.
In August, Ms Sturgeon called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to “reassess” previously-approved oil and gas licences in response to the climate emergency.
‘We can’t swith fossil fuels off overnight’
In a response to a question on Cambo, during the event attended by international figures, the first minister said: “We can’t switch fossil fuels off overnight but we must accelerate the transition away from them.
“The question is, is new exploration consistent with that?
“That’s the question I posed to the prime minister, where the power over this lies.”
The first minister said the country has “got to be careful that we don’t leave people and communities behind” in the transition away from fossil fuels.
Liam Kerr, the Scottish Conservatives net zero spokesman, accused Ms Sturgeon of “playing to the crowd”, as he urged her to back the controversial Cambo oil development.
He added: “Nicola Sturgeon used to flog Scotland’s oil as the basis for independence. Now she has abandoned the sector in a desperate bid to please her Green coalition colleagues.”
She also stressed the importance of small countries doing their part to tackle climate change, stating they can “step in when the bigger countries fail to act”.
The TED event forms part of the group’s “countdown to COP26” series and was attended by figures including the Danish climate minister, environmental campaigners and authors.
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) October 13, 2021
Ms Sturgeon is due to speak again on climate change to the Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik, Iceland, on Thursday.
She aims to set out what Scotland can do with other northern countries to tackle the emergency and will be joined by the prime minister of Iceland and officials from Denmark.