Update on St Fitticks

Demonstrating outside the Scottish Parliament in January 2023

Campaigners in Torry are still waiting on the Scottish Government announcement that was expected back in January. Each month it has been put back another 28 days and is now due on 6th May. If the government gives the go ahead to the current plans for the ETZ (Energy Transition Zone) it will be a decisive step down a road that panders to the oil and gas industry and has nothing to with social justice. St Fitticks Park, which the plans would take over for industrial use, is the only green space in a working class area that suffered from decades of pollution as a result of the oil and gas industry. Most recently a new Energy from Waste incinerator, built close to a primary school, has led to a further deterioration in living conditions.

This film from REELNews highlights the issues involved and the resistance of the local community. Please share it widely.

In the film it’s noted that it’s not clear what use the new industrial zone will be put to. However, since the film was made campaigners have found evidence that there will be a large hydrogen storage facility – with 80% blue hydrogen and 20% green – that will be used to convert the cooking and heating supply for 20,000 social housing tenants in Aberdeen. If this goes ahead not only will Torry lose it’s green space many of its residents will be locked in to a very expensive energy future.

St Fitticks deserves to be a national campaign. The issues it raises around social justice, the use of hydrogen and carbon capture are national issues and they expose the weaknesses and contradictions in Scottish Government Energy Policy.

Share this post – support the St Fitticks campaigners.

Read more detail and watch video from the campaign here and here.


Glasgow City Council has decided to invest £75,000 in designing a pilot of free public transport, to include buses, trains and the Subway. This decision was a result of more than five years of campaigning by Get Glasgow Moving, strengthened over the last two years by Free Our City, a coalition of climate activists, trade unions and passenger groups.

Representatives of ScotE3, Glasgow Trades Council, Friends of the Earth Scotland, Migrants Organising for Rights and Empowerment, and Govan Community Council, all active members of the Free Our City Coalition, met last week with a Council officer and a representative of Stantec, the large transport consultancy company which won the commission to design a free public transport pilot, whose report to the Council is scheduled for June.

Free public transport, now available in many cities across the world, is vital for reducing Glasgow’s carbon emissions and the many inequalities which plague Glasgow. Get Glasgow Moving had already met separately with Stantec.

Free Our City made these main points to Stantec:

  1. The pilot must be universal, including all households in Glasgow. Households often plan journeys with other households not in their locality. Anything less than a universal pilot will not provide a reliable evidence base.
  2. It’s vital that Stantec develop the pilot as paving the way for free public transport for all in the longer term – otherwise the pilot will be pointless.
  3. We suggested that the Council could buy out the private bus companies for the duration of the pilot, agreeing a price based on their current income (trains and the Subway are already publicly owned).     
  4. Stantec should identify funding opportunities from the Scottish Government for rolling out free public transport across Greater Glasgow – not just say to Glasgow City Council “this is how much it’ll cost”. 
  5. There are no examples of effective public transport under private ownership internationally, but plenty of examples under public ownership. Public ownership should be tightly connected to the understanding of how any full scheme could be delivered, as the cross-subsidy benefits of having a whole system under public ownership may reduce the total cost of a free scheme for which a franchise system may over-estimate the total cost.
  6. We asked to be kept informed as they developed their project and offered to meet again.

Here’s the REEL News film of the Free Our City demonstration at the Glasgow COP

Briefing #17 – Net Zero

Our latest briefing takes a critical look at Net Zero. You can read it here or download the PDF. All our briefings are published under a Creative Commons license CC BY 4.0 . Find all our briefings on the resources page.

“Net Zero” was defined at the 2015 Climate Summit in Paris as “a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases”. So, for example, it would be OK to continue burning gas in power stations as long as all the carbon dioxide produced in the process is captured and permanently stored.

Paris COP 2015 – image by Pete Cannell CC0

Net Zero was an attempt to translate the temperature target of “well under a two degree rise above pre-industrial levels” into something countries could be held accountable for.

Since then governments have rushed to announce long-term Net Zero emissions goals. The Climate Change Committee has also fully embraced the Net Zero concept – hardly surprising because the members of the Committee are appointed by the UK and Devolved Governments.

As a result of these goals billions of dollars have been invested in research and development of low-carbon technologies , all of which face massive technological, economic and land use challenges when used at scale.

The Net Zero concept emerged in 2013 in the run-up to the Paris Summit, against the background of the collapse of the talks at Copenhagen in 2009. However well-intentioned the idea was, it’s notable that it arose among a group of 30 lawyers, diplomats, financiers and activists, who met at Glen House, a country estate in the Scottish Borders owned by a ‘green’ investment pioneer.

The current front runner technology, which governments are pinning their hopes on, is “Carbon Capture with Storage” (CCS). This is defined as “a process in which a relatively pure stream of carbon dioxide (CO2) from industrial and energy-related sources is separated (captured), conditioned, compressed and transported to a storage location for long-term isolation from the atmosphere”. The companies developing this technology are either the same companies which extract fossil fuels, or closely related to them financially.

CCS is an energy-hungry process and as such is not financially viable at scale for the companies experimenting with it. They are calling for government subsidies. In the US extracted carbon dioxide has been used to facilitate pumping in oil wells – a process known as “Enhanced Oil Recovery” – to close the energy gap, make CCS more financially viable, and enable the big energy companies to continue extracting fossil fuels.

On four related counts CCS is not in the interests of either people or the planet. First it requires too much energy; second it would need subsidising by tax-payers; third it would be controlled by giant corporations who already make obscene profits; and fourth it would be too slow to prevent catastrophic climate change.

In the UK at Drax Power Station – the site recently of vigorous strike action by the inadequately paid workers.

– biomass is being burnt and from time to time some of the emitted carbon is being captured in a process called Bioenergy and Carbon Capture (BECCS). A previous ScotE3 Briefing on BECCS explains why this is a crazy idea – primarily because it would require huge areas of land to be planted up with monoculture forests.

It’s clear then that both Net Zero and the technologies which underpin it are meaningless greenwash, being used to justify continued investment in fossil fuel extraction – an effective distraction from the urgent need to deliver sustained radical cuts to greenhouse gas emissions in a socially just way.

What’s needed is a Real Zero, not a Net Zero. We have the technology to achieve this – we don’t need new technology. This is what we need to do: