Boris offers Sturgeon 'huge' Cop26 climate conference role

Boris Johnson offers Nicola Sturgeon a ‘huge’ role at Cop26 climate conference in Glasgow – despite once telling Tories he didn’t want her ‘anywhere near it’ – after snubbing her invite for political talks during Scotland visit

  • PMr said he wanted the Scottish First Minister to be involved in Cop26 summit
  • But told the 2019 Tory conference he didn’t ‘want to see her anywhere near it’
  • Came after he rejected her offer of Covid rebuilding talks in Edinbugh 

Boris Johnson last night offered Nicola Sturgeon a ‘huge’ role at an upcoming global climate conference – after snubbing her offer of face-to-face talks during his visit to Scotland.

The Prime Minister said he wanted the Scottish First Minister and her Welsh and Northern Irish counterparts to be involved in Cop26, which takes place in Glasgow in November.

His offer comes amid a stand-off between Westminster and Edinburgh after he dismissed an offer of talks about Covid rebuilding during his current visit to Scotland.

Mr Johnson turned down an offer to meet Ms Sturgeon at her Bute House residence in Edinburgh before undertaking an engagement just 30 miles away. 

Both sides denied the move was a snub, but the First Minister branded his decision ‘odd’.

The offer of a Cop26 role may also raise some Tory eyebrows. At the party’s conference in 2019, Mr Johnson told an event that he did not want the Scottish leader involved, saying: ‘I don’t mind seeing a Saltire or two but I want to see the Union flag and I don’t want to see Nicola Sturgeon anywhere near it.’ 

However last night he told the BBC: ‘It’s a huge undertaking by the whole of the UK.

‘I hope very much that the First Minister, along with all her colleagues around the UK, at whatever level in government, will evangelise, will exhort everybody she represents to do the needful.’ 

The Prime Minister boarded a ship on his way to visit an offshore wind farm in the Moray Firth this morning.

Mr Johnson tuned down an offer to meet Ms Sturgeon at her Bute House residence in Edinburgh before undertaking an engagement just 30 miles away yesterday

Keir Starmer demands ‘just’ timetable to end North Sea oil and gas industry in green push

Keir Starmer sparked anger last night as he demanded a timetable to end the North Sea oil and gas industry.

The Labour leader spoke out on a visit to Scotland focused on climate change ahead of the Cop26 conference in Glasgow in the autumn.

Sir Keir attacked Boris Johnson as being ‘missing in action’ in the lead up to the conference, and told journalists  there needed to be a firm timetable laid out to end the extraction and exploration of oil and gas in the North Sea.

‘It’s got to be subject to consensus and agreement and we’ve got to… bring communities with us on this, otherwise there will be a disconnect between the obligations that we have to deal with the climate crisis and the communities that are going to be affected,’ he said. 

When asked what timescale he would look to usher in, the Labour leader said it would be subject to agreement with areas of the country which would be impacted, such as in the north east of Scotland.

‘We’ll have to sit down and agree it, but we have to have a hard edged timetable,’ the Labour leader said. 

Currently, an application is being mulled by the Oil and Gas Authority for another oil field near Shetland.

The Cambo field could produce up to 255 million barrels of oil during its lifetime, but would release an estimated 132 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Climate activists are steadfastly against the move, and Sir Keir said the UK Labour Party are too.

But Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross said the comments, despite the pledge for a just transition, show Labour has ‘abandoned’ Aberdeen and the North East.

‘People across the North East will be appalled to hear that Keir Starmer is happy to throw away their livelihoods by agreeing a hard edged timetable to shut down the North Sea sector,’ he added.

‘Labour’s plans would risk the 100,000 jobs that depend on our vital oil and gas industry.

‘This position is potentially even more extreme than an SNP-Green coalition would hold. It’s beyond reckless, especially when jobs and Scotland’s economic recovery from Covid must be our top priority.’

The Prime Minister boarded a ship on his way to visit an offshore wind farm in the Moray Firth this morning.

Boris Johnson and business minister Kwasi Kwarteng walked aboard the ship in Fraserburgh harbour in Aberdeenshire on Thursday morning.

The Prime Minister is heading to the Moray East wind farm development, which is currently under construction.

The trip is part of his two-day visit to Scotland, which began on Wednesday with a visit to Police Scotland’s Tulliallan training college in Fife.

Ms Sturgeon said his refusal to meet her was ‘strange’ and said it was for him to explain his refusal.

Mr Johnson denied snubbing her, when asked by reporters at the college, where he posed with police dogs in an area away from public access.

‘No, I haven’t. I’m always delighted, always, always, always, delighted – and look, we, seriously, we work together,’ he said. 

Mr Johnson and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer are visiting renewable energy projects in Scotland today as the country prepares to host the Cop26 climate conference.

The Prime Minister and the leader of the Labour Party are on separate visits north of the border and will today tour renewable energy projects three months ahead of the international climate gathering.

Global leaders will attend the summit, to be held from October 31 to November 12, in what is seen as a critical moment for the future of the planet.

Sir Keir has called for ‘rapid green investment’ across the UK as new figures reveal more than 75,000 green jobs have been lost over the past five years.

The Labour leader said the UK had to ‘lead by example’ on the climate crisis and invest more in jobs in renewable energy and technology via a ‘Green New Deal’, as he toured Scotland on a two-day visit.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics cited by Labour show a loss of 33,800 ‘direct’ jobs and a further 41,400 jobs in the supply chain for low-carbon and renewable sectors between 2014 and 2019.

This includes thousands of fewer jobs in solar power, onshore wind, renewable electricity and bioenergy.

Sir Keir said: ‘Tackling the climate crisis must be at the heart of everything we do. We are at a critical moment. In less than 100 days, Cop26 will be over and our chance to keep the planet’s warming below 1.5 degrees will have either been grasped or abandoned.

‘The UK must rise to this moment and lead by example. That means rapid action to create good, green jobs across the country. And it means a proper strategy to buy, make and sell more in Britain, to create good, unionised jobs in clean energy and through supply chains.

He added: ‘Nobody here in the UK can afford for this issue to be yet another example of Boris Johnson bluster. We need real action, now. It is time for a Green New Deal.’

The Labour leader also criticised the Scottish Government’s record on green jobs, claiming the SNP ‘broke its pledge to create 130,000 green jobs by 2020’.

In 2010, the Scottish Government predicted that jobs in the low-carbon sector would reach 130,000 by 2020 according to a now-archived official web page, but the latest ONS figures show 21,400 direct green jobs in Scotland, compared to 23,200 in 2014. 

A Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy spokesperson said: ‘As we build back better and greener from the pandemic, this Government is firmly committed to seizing the economic opportunities presented by the transition to a green economy.

‘The data from 2019 and 2014 cannot be compared as there was a change in how the survey was conducted. In fact, ONS has concluded that the low-carbon and renewable energy economy has remained stable.’

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