THE vast majority of SNP voters and most Scots in general want tackling climate change to remain a top priority for the Scottish Government, new research has found.

Net zero campaign group Uplift has published research which showed that 71% of SNP voters and 61% of all Scots wanted the Government to continue its efforts to tackle climate change.

It comes shortly after the Scottish Government announced it would ditch a climate target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 75% by 2030 – something it is understood had always believed to be overly ambitious.

The target of reducing emissions to net zero by 2045 remains in place.

Research conducted by the Diffley Partnership for Uplift surveyed more than 2600 Scottish adults, including 1136 SNP voters, and found scepticism about the oil and gas industry’s current efforts to transition towards green energy.

Of SNP voters, 83% said they did not trust the energy companies to handle the green transition in a way that benefits workers and communities.

The National: Aberdeen

In Aberdeen, the study found that only 21% of the city’s residents believed energy companies would be able to effect a “just transition”.

And three-quarters of all surveyed said they did not trust Westminster to manage the transition away from fossil fuels in a way which would be good for oil and gas workers and communities.

Some 62% of Scots believed the country should grow its economy and tackle climate change at the same time, while 67% said that boosting green investment would result in an affordable and secure energy supply in the long-term.

Tessa Khan, executive director at Uplift commented: “This is a clear message to the new First Minister that people across Scotland are united in wanting his government to prioritise tackling the climate crisis and also see enormous potential for Scotland in the transition to clean energy.

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“It is obvious that both Westminster and oil and gas companies – which together control the North Sea’s shift from fossil fuels – are currently not trusted to protect Scottish workers and ensure they benefit from the transition. Even in Aberdeen, our oil capital, trust in the industry to deliver a fair transition is rock bottom.”

The National: Oil

She said the findings added “weight to the chorus of voices now calling for a coherent transition plan” and said oil and gas firms should not be able to “keep profiting from Scotland’s resources at the country’s expense”.

Imogen Dow, Friends of the Earth Scotland’s head of campaigns, said: “Failing to take action on climate change was instrumental in the downfall of Humza Yousaf, so John Swinney’s team must listen to what the public want and get Scotland back on track to meet our climate commitments and bring down pollution in this crucial decade.

“Strong climate action that cuts fossil fuel use such as improving public transport, ensuring homes are well insulated and creating green jobs is popular, necessary and will improve people’s lives."

Dow called on the Government to listen to discuss a “jobs guarantee” with oil and gas workers who will be affected by the transition away from fossil fuels.

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She also called for a “fully renewable energy system run in the public interest”.

Dow added: “The public recognise that oil and gas companies are only interested in their profits and, unless they are stopped, will destroy our only home by continuing to drill for new fossil fuels.

The National: Wind farm

“Oil industry bosses have proved time and again that they cannot be trusted whether that is in delaying the energy transition, ripping off households in their energy bills or lying about climate breakdown.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The Scottish Government is fully committed to a just transition to a climate resilient and net zero Scotland by 2045 and the energy transition presents one of the greatest economic and social opportunities of our time.

“The Scottish Government’s focus is on meeting the country’s energy security needs, reducing emissions and delivering affordable energy supplies, whilst ensuring a just transition for the oil and gas workforce to a net-zero future as North Sea resources decline.

“Our draft Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan sets out a clear pathway to deliver on global climate commitments, achieve economic growth and a just transition that capitalises on the era defining opportunities that lie ahead. A finalised position is due to be published by the summer.”