The more gas Scotland produces the less coal the world burns and the happier the planet becomes. If our First Minister could just keep that simple aphorism in her head, then she could resolve the climate conundrum between the approval of Cambo and reducing CO2 emissions.
Europe has burnt record amounts of coal in the last six months because gas is in short supply and expensive. Increase the ratio of gas over coal in our energy mix and emissions drop 50 per cent. The Cambo oil field will introduce key pipeline infrastructure that will support additional gas extraction.
Scotland will host COP26 but there will be no Scottish input. A bit like our wind farms, the content will all be imported. Fact is, there is no climate emergency here and nothing we do in Scotland has any measurable impact on the global climate.
Scotland should be saying to the world: be honest, there is no escaping the fossil fuel back-up required for wind any time soon and no hiding from poor wind performance over the last six months. Europe can’t handle a similar renewables lockdown in winter. With oil above $80/barrel, Scotland’s one million bpd should be funding a transition to reliable nuclear reactors.
Realistically, reaching net zero needs a significant increase in dependable base-load power. The kind of power that oozes from Torness rather than spurts from Seagreen, NaG or Berwick Bank. More enlightened Greens like Patrick Moore (Greenpeace co-founder) and Michael Shellenberger (Green journalist and author) get the nuclear point. Scotland’s Green mob lives in the environmental dark ages, still betting their organic farm on wind and solar.
Scotland’s political class has wasted 20 years pushing renewables and neglecting nuclear. Fortunately, our indigenous gas reserves are sufficient, if developed, to support such a sensible transition. What Nicola Sturgeon needs to explain is; without our own gas reserves what keeps the lights on until nuclear catches up again?
Calum Miller, Prestonpans, East Lothian