Scotland may become a ‘friend’ of Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance – Sturgeon

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Scotland is seeking to become a “friend” of the newly-formed alliance of countries looking to phase out fossil fuels, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance was launched by Denmark and Costa Rica on Wednesday to halt new drilling.

France, Greenland, Ireland, Sweden, Wales and the Canadian province of Quebec signed up as founding members.

Portugal, California and New Zealand are associate members, while Italy is supporting it as a “friend”.

Scotland is yet to sign up, though the First Minister has said her government is likely to join.

Cop26 – Glasgow
Nicola Sturgeon spoke to journalists at the Cop26 summit (Jane Barlow/PA)

She has now given further details on the level of membership she would like Scotland to participate at.

Speaking to journalists at the Cop26 summit, the First Minister said: “So we would, I think become a ‘friend of’ in the first instance, and then probably move potentially into different categories of membership.

“I wrote to the Beyond Oil and Gas organisation yesterday, indicating we were making that assessment.”

She continued: “I don’t have any doubt in my mind that we’ve got a big job of work to do to get away from oil and gas as quickly as possible.

“But we have to do that in a way that doesn’t make us more dependent on importing oil and gas, that would be nonsensical.

“And crucially, that doesn’t leave the 100,000 people working in that sector on the scrap heap.”

Oil rigs – Cromarty Firth
Several countries have already signed up to the alliance (Jane Barlow/PA)

Emissions from the North Sea oil and gas industry did not count towards Scotland’s targets as the responsibility is reserved, she said.

She said there was a “moral reason” to be part of the global reduction in emissions.

The First Minister also said communities in Scotland were still dealing with the “scars” of deindustrialisation from coal mines closing.

She said: “If we get this wrong, that’s what could happen with oil and gas.

“I am absolutely determined it will not.”

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