BRIAN Cox has called for radical action to protect the planet from the worst effects of climate change, saying that people need to make sacrifices.

The Scottish actor was appearing on Question Time last night alongside a panel that included Scottish Finance Secretary Kate Forbes and Tory MP Andrew Bowie.

The panel was responding to an audience question that asked if they would put the economy or the environment first when choosing what to do with Scotland's oil industry.

Forbes was the first to respond, saying that it does need to be an exclusive issue with "economic opportunities" available when conducting a just transition away from oil and gas extraction.

She pointed out that the Acorn Project, a carbon capture scheme based in Aberdeenshire, is a "great example" of an opportunity to create new jobs using the existing skills of the oil and gas industry in the north east of Scotland while phasing out fossil fuels.

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Acorn missed out on funding from a £1 billion UK carbon capture scheme in favour of two English sites, despite Tories hinting that it could receive cash just weeks before. The Scottish cluster is being kept as a "reserve".

Her position was then attacked by Bowie who criticised the Scottish Green position on carbon capture with the party taking the position that focus should be on renewable energy generation rather than "undeveloped technologies".

Smirking, Bowie ended his contribution by stating that the Conservative Party "is investing and does care about the north east of Scotland, unlike the Scottish National Party government in Edinburgh".

Cox was clearly not impressed by Bowie's posturing, loudly saying: "This is not a party political issue, we're in deep shit, we really are and we really have to face up to that.

"To use a Scottish word, I'm well and truly scunnered, quite frankly."

He then referred to a leaked document released yesterday that showed the countries lobbying to change a UN report on how countries can tackle climate change.

It revealed that Saudi Arabia, Japan and Australia are among the nations trying to play down the need to move rapidly away from fossil fuels.

The leaked document consists of more than 32,000 submissions by governments, companies and other interested parties made to a team of UN scientists bringing together the best evidence on how to tackle climate change.

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Cox said: "The planet is being destroyed and we have to rethink it. We have to make certain sacrifices in order to get better. 

"We have to think first and foremost about the planet and our responsibility to the planet."

Then asked by host Fiona Bruce about what an independent Scotland should prioritise, the economy or the environment, Cox responded: "I think we have to put the environment first, I really do. We're a small country and we can show an example."