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Nicola Sturgeon forced to defend global warming strategy

NICOLA STURGEON faced accusations of hypocrisy today as she was accused of “backing the fossil fuel industry” in spite of her pledge to tackle global warming.

At First Minister’s Questions, Scottish Greens convener Patrick Harvie attacked the SNP parliamentary group at Westminster for supporting new tax relief for the oil and gas sector.

The party’s MPs backed the “transferable tax history” (TTH) proposals, which will help oil and gas companies with the costs of decommissioning in the North Sea.

Speaking in the Commons on Tuesday, SNP MP Kirsty Blackman said: “The best way to ensure that we get new investment into the industry, to protect jobs and create new ones and to maximise economic recovery of our natural resources, is to have an effective TTH mechanism.”

Mr Harvie contrasted the party’s position on fossil fuels with First Minister Ms Sturgeon’s declaration that governments have a “moral responsibility” to tackle climate change.

Addressing the United Nations climate conference in Poland on Tuesday, Ms Sturgeon said: “Scotland has been widely praised internationally for our work to tackle climate change and I am absolutely determined that there will be no let-up in our efforts.”

Mr Harvie said: “People are demanding urgency, but the SNP risks climate complacency.

“The science is clear that the critical period for rapid progress is the next 12 years, yet the government’s climate Bill proposes no change in that period.”

Ms Sturgeon told MSPs that Scotland had “a duty to be ambitious with our targets,” but called for a “just transition” which would not “risk people’s jobs.”

Friends of the Earth Scotland climate campaigner Caroline Rance said: “The SNP cannot continue to ride both horses when it comes to climate change and energy policy.”

Conrad Landin is the Morning Star’s Scotland Editor.

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