A very important report has been published today by Platform that collates the results of an extensive survey of the views of more than a thousand offshore oil and gas workers on their lives, the industry they work in and energy transition. We’ll publish more on the report over the next few days but we strongly recommend downloading the full version.
Front cover of the report
Key survey results include:
81% of offshore workers would consider leaving the industry
43% had been made redundant or furloughed since March 2020
91% of respondents had not heard of the term ‘just transition’
Given the option of retraining to work elsewhere in the energy sector, more than half would be interested in renewables and offshore wind.
Over 50% of workers deemed government support at all levels “nowhere near enough”
Current job security satisfaction was rated 1.9 out of 5, with 58% of respondents also identifying job security as their top priority in considering changing industries
In December 2019 we published the text of a new briefing (Number 11) on Energy from Waste. It’s good news that this issue is now getting more publicity. The Ferret has highlighted a new report and briefing from Friends of the Earth Scotland that points out that the combined capacity of the Waste burning power plants proposed in Scotland exceeds the total tonnage of household waste available. These plans run a coach and horses through recycling targets and will increase carbon emissions. They should be stopped.
Apologies for the short notice – we’ve just received notification that there’s an Open Assembly of the ‘Glasgow Agreement’ tomorrow (Sunday) at 2pm – the invitation to attend is copied below. You can see the latest draft of the agreement here.
We want to invite you to our next open assembly of the Glasgow Agreement on the 27th of September (Sunday), from 2pm GMT until 4pm GMT. You are more than welcome to participate, and to invite other groups that you know and that might be interested to participate in the Glasgow Agreement, even if they are not in the process yet.
Agenda: We will talk about: the current status of the text and how you can be involved on the process; what space does the climate justice movement need in 2021; what is the inventory tool and the climate agenda. Introductory webinar: We will also have an introductory webinar at 1:30pm GMT, in the same links, for those who don’t know the Glasgow Agreement that well. Feel free to join us if you want to know more about the agreement before the assembly!
Scot.E3 has joined with a number of other organisations in signing a letter sent to the Scottish Government arguing that Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage should have no place in the their updated Climate Change Plan.
The key points in the letter are listed below.
Risk of exacerbating rather than mitigating climate change
Biodiverse forests are vital protection against the climate and ecological emergencies. Protecting mature forests and allowing more land to revert to forest and other natural ecosystems is a vital part of our efforts to sequester and store carbon. Large-scale tree burning for biomass energy is not compatible with this need, and any level of BECCS implementation would further increase demands for extraction of wood and other types of biomass.
To date, the only working example of BECCS anywhere in the world is the capture of CO2 from ethanol fermentation. This process emits more carbon than it sequesters once the fossil fuels burnt during the refining process and the emissions released by land-use change are taken into account. Cutting down trees for energy production exacerbates the climate crisis because it takes too long for new trees to grow back, and forest ecosystems that are logged will not recover for many decades, if ever.
High risk to nature
The suggestion from the UK Committee on Climate Change (CCC) that Scotland could grow and supply around 33% of all UK biomass and would therefore be an ideal location for BECCS is extremely concerning. Existing demand for biomass energy in the UK far exceeds the availability of genuine biomass residues and wastes. If BECCS was applied on a large scale in Scotland, it would increase the demand for wood and land, and therefore add pressure on woodland and other biodiverse ecosystems.
The world’s only example of a pilot BECCS project involving the burning of biomass – one which has not succeeded in sequestering any carbon so far – is at Drax Power Station in Yorkshire. Drax is the world’s biggest biomass burner and routinely sources pellets made from clearcut, coastal and hardwood forests in the Southeastern USA as well as from forests in the Baltic States. These forests are home to countless rare and endangered species and Scotland must not have a role in their destruction.
In Scotland, biomass electricity relies heavily on burning domestic wood from tree plantations, most of which are Sitka spruce. The Forestry Strategy for Scotland highlights the major role of biomass energy in the overall demand for wood, itself one of the ‘strategic drivers’ of expansion. Conifer plantations may be faster growing than native woodlands and thus preferred for bioenergy, but they provide little habitat for wildlife.
European biofuel policy has shown that large-scale demand for crop-based biofuels causes large-scale land-use change. In the case of European crops, it involves more intensive agriculture with greater agrochemical use, contributing to the decline in farmland birds, animals, insects and wildflowers.
Diverts resources from meaningful responses to the climate emergency
We urge the Scottish Government not to rely on speculative negative emissions technologies such as BECCS in the energy sector to make up for, or “undo”, carbon emissions. These unviable technologies distract us from the urgent action needed to tackle emissions at source and meet our climate targets.
Scotland’s new 2030 climate target requires urgent action to reduce emissions, and the costs – both financially and environmentally – of trying to develop BECCS are huge, representing a real risk of diverting much needed resources and financing away from proven and effective responses to the climate and biodiversity crises which, unlike BECCS, can be implemented immediately.
The Scottish Government must end support for new fossil fuel developments, focusing instead on ensuring a Just Transition that protects the livelihoods of communities which currently rely on high carbon industries. Swift efforts must be made to upscale truly clean energy, to develop a mix of energy storage systems at scale and to greatly expand the roll out of heat pumps and the insulation of homes.
The Scottish Government must invest in, and provide policy support for, increasing biodiverse forest and woodland cover and the protection of forest, peatland and wetland ecosystems which naturally sequester carbon prioritising the expansion of native woodland through tree planting and natural regeneration.
A year ago, on 20th September seven million people around the world demonstrated for climate action. The Edinburgh demonstration organised by Scottish Youth Climate Strike (SYCS). SYCS are calling for people to protest on Friday September 25th. For the latest information check the SYCS website – there will be physically distanced protests where safe to do so – you can also add your voice on social media – make a sign calling for a Just Green Recovery and post a picture of it using #BuildBackBetterScot.
Follow @_sycs_ for more information (Instagram only)
Follow @syclimatestrike for more information (Facebook Only)
Thanks to Friends of the Earth Scotland for sharing this information. The skills of the workforce at Alexander Dennis and the production facilities are vital for the transition to a zero carbon economy.
Background Despite the Scottish Government’s fine rhetoric on climate action and just transition, hundreds of workers are currently at risk of redundancy at Alexander Dennis (ADL), the Falkirk-based manufacturer of high-performance hybrid buses. Unite the Union has found evidence that despite the claims of ADL, these job cuts were planned before the health crisis as part of a restructure strategy. Like the still under threat BiFab offshore platform fabrication yards in Fife, Alexander Dennis should be at the forefront of the just transition to a zero carbon economy, not struggling for survival.
Why your help is needed Environmentalists and climate change campaigners can stand in solidarity with workers fighting to save their jobs – jobs that are vital to the green economy and protecting livelihoods.
Please support the @UniteScotland and @UniteADL campaign on social media, and call for MSPs to sign motion S5M-22467 in the Scottish Parliament. The text of the motion is below, along with links to suggested tweets to share and tweets to send directly to MSPs.
A demonstration of solidarity like this from environmentalists and climate change campaigners with workers and trade unionists will help build stronger alliances and a broader movement for climate action. Please take action today!
Scottish Parliament Motion
Motion S5M-22467: Richard Leonard, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 19/08/2020 R
That the Parliament recognises and affirms its support for the importance of engineering and manufacturing to the Scottish economy; considers that the sector will play a crucial role in a just transition to a cleaner and greener economy; expresses its concern at the announcement by Alexander Dennis Limited, a world leading bus manufacturer, that a significant number of jobs throughout its UK operations are at risk, including at sites in Falkirk and Larbert; recognises the serious impact that this would have on thousands of workers, and calls on the Scottish Government to offer every assistance to support the company and its skilled workforce and to work with it and the trade unions to ensure that it has an important future in supporting the development of a clean and green public transport infrastructure for communities across Scotland and further afield.
Tweets to retweet If you’re short on time, please retweet these focused at UK & Scot Govs
If @NicolaSturgeon wants a cleaner, greener future then jobs like @ADLbus will be crucial to making this a success.
To address the climate emergency and tackle persistent poverty, hundreds of cities across the world – from Kansas to Calais – are making their public transport networks free for everyone to use. We think Glasgow should too!
Free Our City is a new coalition of community, trade union and environmental groups campaigning for Glasgow to be the next city to make its public transport free (see our leaflet attached).
We’ll be joined by speakers from different cities around the world to share their experiences of campaigning for, implementing and living with the many benefits of free public transport. They’ll be opportunities to ask questions and breakout sessions to discuss how to develop, get involved in and work together to win the campaign in Greater Glasgow.
The event will be on Zoom. Please ensure you register in advance on Eventbrite, so we can email you the log-in details for the event. It will also be live streamed on Facebook.