ENERGY companies and governments pursuing oil and gas have faced fresh criticism as new research confirms this month’s heatwave was made 10 times more likely by climate breakdown.

Analysis by World Weather Attribution found that temperatures in the UK during the heatwave – which in some areas of England reached over 40C – were higher than those simulated in climate models, and that extreme temperatures in western Europe are rising faster than previously expected.

READ MORE: Climate crisis isn’t far off – it’s right here, right now

Responding to the new findings, Friends of the Earth Scotland oil and gas campaigner Freya Aitchison commented: “This research confirms what we already knew - climate change is here, and it’s having devastating effects on people both in the UK and across the world.

"The record-breaking heatwave was just one example of the extreme weather caused by the climate crisis, with floods and droughts also wreaking havoc on people’s lives and livelihoods. 

The National: Firefighters respond to a large wildfire in BirminghamFirefighters respond to a large wildfire in Birmingham

“The burning of fossil fuels is the main driver of the climate crisis. Extreme weather will only get worse unless we rapidly phase out the extraction and use of fossil fuels, yet oil companies and governments alike are continuing to approve new projects such as the controversial Jackdaw gas field. 

“With companies like Shell posting record profits and rising energy prices pushing millions of households into fuel poverty, it’s never been clearer that our energy system is completely unfit for purpose.”

The Scottish Greens’ climate spokesperson Mark Ruskell MSP called it "staggering" that the UK Government intends to continue extracting oil and gas in the face of the climate crisis. 

“Urgent action is required to decarbonise our economy," he told The National. "We have the technology, we have the wealth, all that seems to be missing is the political will from a UK Government that’s too busy arguing amongst itself to actually govern properly.

“With independence, Scotland could choose a different path. We could use our vast renewable energy potential to lead the continent in a renewables revolution.”

READ MORE: Climate crisis: Tories have nothing but worthless words even as England burns

A Scottish Government spokesperson added: “The recent heatwave was a reminder not only of the urgency of the challenge to reduce emissions, but the need to prepare for the impacts of climate change that are already locked in. We recognise the scientific evidence showing that these impacts are rapidly becoming more severe.  

“The need to do more to build resilience to increasing heatwaves, flooding and other climate impacts is a shared global issue, which applies here in Scotland too. That is why, alongside continuing to deliver the 170 policies and proposals in our current Adaptation Programme, we are now also developing the next Programme for publication in 2024. We are also looking for additional, early actions we can take to address those risk areas identified as being the highest priority.”