PATRICK Harvie has claimed Fergus Ewing used “right-wing language” by describing green policies as “extreme” in a row over oil and gas production in Scotland.

The Scottish Greens co-leader was responding to claims from former energy secretary Ewing that dependence on fossil fuels will be required for a “much longer period”.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she will not support new oil or gas fields in Scottish waters, including the now paused Cambo development, and has instead focused on moving to renewable energies.

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The FM also insisted that ramping up the transition to renewables is the answer to the world moving away from reliance on Russian oil and gas.

However, Ewing disagrees, and previously claimed the transition period “will last for decades” and called for production to be ramped up instead. 

His comments later came under fire from the Greens who said Ewing was "ignoring the climate crisis". 

In an interview with ITV Border on Wednesday, Ewing was asked if the FM had made a mistake bringing Green ministers into government.

The National:

Ewing (pictured above) said the question should be directed to the FM, but added: “I can’t say that I’m a great enthusiast for the policies of the Green Party that do seem to me to be somewhat extreme.

“Particularly the policy of sacrificing the people in our oil and gas industry. I think they are amongst the best in the world.

“They do a great job. They keep the lights on, they keep the heating on in our homes. That’s valuable.

“We should be praising and thanking them, not saying that they should get their P45s tomorrow.”

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In response, Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings Harvie said that he didn’t think Ewing was speaking on behalf of the SNP when he made the comments.

Harvie said: “He’s aping and echoing the language of the Conservatives in calling Green politics extreme.

“It’s not a huge surprise to me that he would pick up on language from you know, fellow right-wingers, let's be honest.”

Harvie added that the world is facing the “critical challenge” of accelerating the transition away from reliance on fossil fuels.

The National:

Harvie (above) said: “Very clearly, our use of fossil fuels has brought the world to the brink of ecological crisis already and we know that it’s urgent we move away from it.

“We have to do that fairly, we have to have that just transition, that means investing in the jobs and industries of the future, not doubling down on the industries of the past - another round of dinosaur fuels.

“What we have is the opportunity to use this as a moment to recognise that addressing our ecological security, addressing the climate emergency, addressing our energy security and making sure that we're not subject to these volatile gas prices, and also addressing our geopolitical security by ensuring that countries like Russia, leaders like Vladimir Putin cannot use fossil fuels as an economic weapon.

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“All of these are reason to go further and faster and with greater ambition to invest in a genuinely sustainable and renewable future.”

In response to Ewing’s interview, Scottish Tory shadow cabinet secretary for net zero Liam Kerr also used the word “extremist” to describe the Greens.

He said: “Fergus Ewing has thrown up in lights that the SNP Government is abandoning Scotland’s oil and gas industry because of the extremist Greens.

“Nicola Sturgeon must stop appeasing the Greens and back the North Sea oil and gas industry to secure our energy supply, protect jobs, and keep energy bills down.”