NICOLA Sturgeon has urged Boris Johnson to reverse the UK Government’s decision not to back Scotland’s first carbon capture and storage facility.

In a letter, the First Minister criticised the “damaging” move and said the livelihoods of a significant number of industry and oil and gas workers are at stake.

It previously emerged the Scottish cluster, which includes the Acorn Project in Aberdeenshire, would not be granted track one status by the UK Government. It is instead a reserve cluster behind two sites in the north of England.

The Prime Minister has said the Acorn project “still has strong potential, and that’s why it’s been selected as a reserve cluster”.

But Sturgeon said the failure to support the Scottish cluster was a blow to the people of Scotland.

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In her letter to Johnson, sent yesterday as the COP26 climate summit continues in Glasgow, she said: “We remain convinced that the Scottish cluster can play a vital role in our just transition, and in reaching our respective net zero goals by 2045 and 2050. We have offered to collaborate with the UK Government in supporting the cluster on several occasions, including offering the Treasury the option to deploy funding from our Emerging Energy Technologies Fund (EETF).

“We stand ready to deliver on this commitment despite no response to this offer having been received to date.”

The Scottish Government says the Scottish cluster could support an average of 15,100 jobs between 2022 and 2050, with a peak of 20,600 jobs in 2031.

Sturgeon added: “This is a pivotal moment for CCUS [carbon capture, utilisation and storage] on our decarbonisation pathway and it requires a clear and coherent strategy to support UK-wide action on emissions reductions.

“To deliver on your climate change targets and ambitions, the UK Government should be funding all clusters capable of operating by the mid-2020s, including the Scottish cluster.

“Now is the time to speed up, rather than slow down, activity in this area. This is a view shared with major industrial partnerships, and one I know Sir Ian Wood shared with you recently, when stating this decision makes no sense.

“I am therefore calling on you to enhance the decision on cluster sequencing by accelerating the Scottish cluster to full track one status.”

​READ MORE: Pledges on carbon capture in Scotland were used to bribe voters in 2014

The First Minister told Holyrood earlier she would be writing to Johnson about the matter.

Her update came as she answered a question by Conservative MSP Stephen Kerr (below) who asked her if Scotland is on track to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2045.

The National: COATBRIDGE, SCOTLAND - MARCH 29: Stephen Kerr is seen during an election campaign event on March 29, 2021 in Coatbridge, Scotland. Mr Kerr was announcing the Scottish Conservatives plan for housing. (Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images).

She replied that it was but that “hard work” would be needed.

“The scale of the challenge to bridge the global emissions gap is immense. In Scotland right now, we are over halfway to net zero and we have de carbonised faster than any G20 country, but we have much more to do,” she said.

“Through our updated climate change plan and associated commitments, we have set out a comprehensive credible package of policies for reducing emissions over the next decade, putting us on track – I believe – for a just transition to net zero by 2045.

​READ MORE: Stephen Kerr rattled as MSPs laugh at his climate change ‘research’

She added: “Of course, the recent United Kingdom Government decision not to support the Scottish carbon capture and storage cluster does not make that easier and is a serious mistake. I am therefore today writing to the Prime Minister calling on him to reverse that decision and accelerate the Scottish cluster to full track 1 status without delay.”

She asked Kerr to write with her to the PM to ask for decision on the Acorn project to be overturned so in order to get back on track with carbon capture and “not allow his Tory colleagues to take the feet from under us”. She added: “Perhaps he will give consideration to that.”