Energy debate

Matheson says Russia crisis should spur green switch

Michael Matheson and ChargePlace
Michael Matheson: decarbonise faster

Holyrood energy minister Michael Matheson insisted Europe’s transition from Russian energy should not be a signal to open the oil and gas taps in the North Sea.

Mr Matheson told MSPs that the crisis triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine should encourage faster decarbonisation and an acceleration of moves towards renewable sources.

He rejected calls to support further exploration even as the UK government announced it would ban Russian imports of oil by the end of the year.

He said: “Just in the way in which Germany are proposing to do by bringing forward their target by some 15 years, just by the way in which the Dutch prime minister said yesterday when he was in London, sharing a platform with Boris Johnson. The answer to this is to decarbonise at a faster rate.”

The UK imports only a small proportion of its oil and gas from Russia, but has joined the US and Europe in taking action to reduce supplies from Vladimir Putin’s regime.

Liam Kerr, the Scottish Tory energy spokesman, pointed to UK government plans to increase domestic gas production to replace Russian supplies.

He said SNP politicians, including Ian Blackford, the Westminster leader, and Fergus Ewing, the former energy minister, had called for an increase in domestic supplies to ensure security of supply.

“What evidence does the cabinet secretary have that convinces him that in rejecting more domestic production, he and Nicola Sturgeon are right, and everybody else is wrong?” he said.

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