GMB Scotland Warns Abandoning Domestic Gas Production Risks The National Interest
Amid continued Brexit uncertainty and the prospect of a general election, GMB Scotland has today (Wednesday 30 October) warned that abandoning domestic gas production will risk the future energy interests of both Scotland and the rest of the UK, and ignore the realities of the global response needed to tackle climate change.
The trade union has intervened following the publication of a new report which looks at the UK’s production, supply and use of natural gas. ‘Why we still need to talk about natural gas in 2019’, commissioned by GMB Scotland and produced by the University of Strathclyde Centre for Energy Policy, sets out an objective analysis of the role played by natural gas in the UK’s energy mix.
It also reiterates the findings of the UK Government Climate Change Committee that gas imports to the UK, currently costing the UK around £200 million a week, are expected to rise to 85% of supply by 2050 to meet future energy needs against the backdrop of declining domestic production since 2008.
GMB Scotland is campaigning for a balanced energy policy, including a role for North Sea oil and gas and new nuclear alongside renewables growth, as both Scotland and the UK set out to meet net zero targets for 2045 and 2050 respectively.
GMB Scotland Secretary Gary Smith said: “It’s not a question of whether we need gas or not, it’s a question of where we are going to get our gas from.
This inconvenient truth has been lost in an increasingly polarised debate between “leave it in the ground” and “maximum economic recovery”, while political parties try and outbid each other on net zero target dates.
“We believe it’s a time for choosing on gas policy. On the journey to a low carbon economy we can either become an exclusive net importer of gas or we can consolidate a domestic gas supply to help meet our future energy needs.
“From the environmental, economic and employment perspectives, all sensible politicians and policy makers must surely look towards the latter option because in 2050 and beyond we will still need gas to heat homes and keep industry moving.
“And while climate change is the challenge of our time, it is a global challenge, and the reality is that if countries like China, India, USA and Australia keep burning coal then what we do in Scotland and the rest of the UK will have a negligible impact.
“Instead we will run the real risk of making already struggling households colder and poorer while decent jobs in gas and energy related industries will simply be swallowed-up by international competitors.”
Contact: Peter Welsh, GMB Scotland Communications, on 07976 447077.
Notes to Editors:
Copies of the University of Strathclyde Centre for Energy Policy Paper, ‘Why we still need to talk about natural gas in 2019’ can be accessed via https://tinyurl.com/y6avwvta