Despite signing up to a $20 billion fund for clean energy research at the Paris climate talks, the UK Government has been accused of hypocrisy over renewable energy just days after cutting a vital £1 billion carbon capture and storage scheme in Scotland.
In his Autumn mini-budget last week, Chancellor George Osborne announced that he would cut the £1 billion grant which could have created 600 jobs in Peterhead while helping Scotland become a global leader in clean energy technology.
The commitment to the Peterhead CCS funding was promised in the 2015 Tory manifesto and followed the high-profile publicity launch in February 2014 when Prime Minister David Cameron joined his then Energy Secretary Ed Davey, then Scotland Secretary Alistair Carmichael and then Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to sign up to the agreement at Shell HQ in Aberdeen.
Also present (and photographed) are Alistair Phillips-Davies, Chief Executive of Perth-based SSE utility giant, and Ben van Beurden, Chief Executive of Shell.
Local SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson said: “While it is of course welcome to see the progress made on clean energy at the Paris climate talks – for the UK Government to posture on clean energy on the world stage just days after cutting a £1 billion project here at home is completely outrageous and hypocrisy of the lowest order.
“The decision to cut this vital project won’t just cost 600 jobs in the North East of Scotland – but is a huge missed opportunity to help Scotland become a global leader on green energy technology and is just the latest example of the failure of the UK Government to support Scotland’s energy industry.”
Meanwhile, speaking at the opening of the Paris climate-change talks, Prince Charles told world-leaders: “On an increasingly crowded planet, humanity faces many threats – but none is greater than climate change.
“It magnifies every hazard and tension of our existence. It threatens our ability to feed ourselves; to remain healthy and safe from extreme weather; to manage the natural resources that support our economies, and to avert the humanitarian disaster of mass migration and increasing conflict.
“In damaging our climate we become the architects of our own destruction. While the planet can survive the scorching of the earth and the rising of the waters, the human race cannot.
“Rarely in human history have so many people around the world placed their trust in so few. I wish you well in your endeavours and I shall pray for your success.”