BANNING plastic straws will not save the planet, and oil giants have passed their eco-guilt onto the public, according to the organiser of a major summit.

As many as 225 experts from around the world travelled to Scotland for the Petrocultures event at Glasgow University.

The three-day conference, which ends today, has never been held outside of North America before.

It explores the impact of the energy sector on society and considers a post-fossil fuel future, with artists, writers and academics examining issues facing communities in the US, India and the Nordic nations, amongst others.

Co-organiser Dr Graeme Macdonald says many of these have parallels in Scotland, such as the “economic shift” caused by the boom in oil experienced in both Aberdeen and Alberta, Canada.

The Warwick University academy says there has been “great interest” in how Scotland is facing up to issues of decommissioning offshore rigs and moving to greener energy.

But as companies like Starbucks move to phase out plastic straws and consumers are encouraged to curb single-use plastics, Macdonald warns a whole system change is needed to tackle pollution and climate change.

On moves to limit throw-away plastics, he told The National: “The more radical view is that it’s not going to achieve very much. Action like this makes us feel good in a very short term way – maybe you didn’t eat meat at the restaurant or maybe you walked a little more.

“People tend to think those things will accrue into a shift. It takes more than changing the straws.”

On the need to focus on “the whole industry of plastic-makers”, he went on: “They have displaced guilt onto us as private subjects.

“Hold on, let’s think about that. We love this stuff, we love plastics. The sheer pervasive spread is not just about what we consume, it’s about how companies create the demand.”

On the aim of Petrocultures, he said: “Energy is not just something for engineers, it’s something that’s social, cultural, and only by grasping that better can we try to make a transition from the dirty energy regime we inhabit to something cleaner.”