NICOLA Sturgeon is to be urged to commit Scotland to leave behind the fossil fuel industry and back a green energy policy which could create hundreds of thousands of jobs north of the Border.

The call is to be made in Holyrood later this week and follows renewed focus on climate change in the wake of protests by school pupils and the group Extinction Rebellion, which is calling for governments to declare a climate emergency.

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Patrick Harvie, the Green Party’s co-convenor in Scotland, is to lead the demands on Wednesday for ministers to develop a Green New Deal policy which he believes will see more than 200,000 people employed in the country’s renewable sector by 2035.

“We quite simply cannot afford to continue with our over-reliance on oil and gas. Climate science tells us there is just over a decade to act if we are to prevent climate breakdown, while the inspirational school climate strikers demand that we act urgently to secure their future,” he told the Sunday National.

The National:

“A Green New Deal for Scotland is a practical way to transform Scotland’s economy, create hundreds of thousands of new jobs in clean, green industries and tackle the huge inequality that still exists within our communities.”

Harvie welcomed a move by the First Minister, announced at the STUC conference last week, that a green deal would be a key mission for the new Scottish National Investment Bank. However, he said the legislation which establishes the bank does not contain a guarantee on the development of the policy.

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“The Scottish Government will be judged on its action,” he said.

“So far, ministers have been reluctant to take the bold and urgent action that is required to tackle the climate crisis. I hope they’ll take the chance this week to back our plans and set in motion the process of creating a Green New Deal for Scotland.”

The National:

A report Jobs in Scotland’s New Economy, commissioned by the Scottish Greens in 2015, estimated that there were around 156,000 workers employed in fossil fuel extraction in Scotland, while a new green economy could, in comparison, employ more than 200,000 in 2035.

It set out a route map to implement the policy including measures, such as creating public sector jobs in the renewables industry and guaranteeing jobs for those losing work in fossil fuels.

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It also recommended giving the state a significant role in offshore wind and marine energy, ending tax cuts to private fossil fuels companies and setting long-term climate targets alongside ambitious renewables generation goals.

The report added that with Scotland’s natural resources, the country could prosper economically as an energy exporter.

“Fighting inequality on every front and through multiple means is a central strategy in the battle against climate change. We need a coherent and sweeping vision – the response to climate change must be a jobs creator and a community rebuilder,” said the report.

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“The falling oil prices have highlighted the volatility of the fossil fuel industry. But they also create an opportunity. The companies operating in the North Sea are profit-heavy multinationals that exploit the overly-generous UK tax system to subsidise drilling elsewhere.

The National:

“Between 2009 and 2014, oil companies made £48.7 billion in profits. Rather than tax cuts that primarily benefit distant shareholders, this is the moment to take back public control over key parts of the North Sea.

“The plans described here are ambitious and would mean comprehensive changes to UK economic policy.

“They aim to generate far more energy than Scotland needs. Scotland could be powered entirely on renewables, and position itself as an important electricity exporter to northern and western Europe.”

Extinction Rebellion protesters brought central London to a standstill for most of last week as they demanded action over the world’s growing ecological disaster.

Thousands gathered in central London, cutting off Waterloo Bridge, Marble Arch, Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus and Parliament Square – with an impromptu garden party over the Thames and sit-down protests. The same campaign group was also behind two days of protests in Edinburgh.

Extinction Rebellion is demanding immediate action over environmental destruction, claiming humans are at threat if climate change and the loss of biodiversity continues.

The Scottish Government insists that the Scotland’s climate policies are among the most ambitious of any country in the world.