On the Brink

The pure terror at the prospect of an SNP-Green coalition at Holyrood is palpable. The hysteria is predictable from the pages of the Telegraph where they shudder that “Scottish business quakes as SNP near deal with the SNP”: “Ms Sturgeon confirmed on Wednesday night that she is in talks with the Scottish Greens about a possible deal to support her minority government and secure a second referendum. It could result in the far-left Greens ascending to ministerial office for the first time and holding significant sway over the SNP. If that is the price of support for a second independence referendum, few north of the border doubt that it will be paid.” Fear and loathing also over at the New Statesman where poor Chris Deerin describes the Scottish Greens as: “radical, aggressive, socialist agitators”. The policies that trigger an extraordinary diatribe include: a millionaire’s tax; a frequent flyer tax; an end to new licenses for oil and gas exploration and development; a publicly owned rail network; the creation of publicly owned services for freight and passengers to continental Europan; and the reintroduction of rent controls.”


These modest progressive ideas are a trigger for Chris who declares them “not a sensible programme for government” they are he whines: “radically socialist, Big Brother-ish …and unserious.”

As Chris, remarkably the Scottish editor of a supposedly left-wing magazine, polices politics according to his own Ultra Centrist brand of lobbyist/journalism it turns out his attitude to climate crisis is astonishing. He calls the heatwave “useful” and writes: “The price for a Mediterranean climate in northern Europe appears to be drought, wildfires and other ecological disasters in the toastier zones.”

That’s astonishing and offensive journalism as parts of Italy and Greece are being evacuated.


SNP – Scottish Greens Coalition Deal

You wonder what the coalition deal will come to?

It’s interesting to compare and contrast the idea of these rabid radical Greens as described by the Telegraph and the New Statesman with a party willing to do a deal with the SNP whose leader is unable to oppose new oil fields.  Confronted at the Govanhill Festival by Green New Deal Rising activists about the new Cambo oil field Sturgeon said: “We are thinking about all of these things, we are trying to come to the right decision. There’s no doubt we should be moving away.” Then, confusingly:

“You can have a politician that says to you what you want to hear, because you are standing here, or you can have a politician that says I do hear what you say, and I’ve got a lot of sympathy with it but there’s issues as First Minister I’ve got to make sure that I properly consider.”

This seems to suggest that being honest about your inability to muster opposition to new oil in the year that COP26 is coming to Glasgow somehow trumps the actual decision to fail to oppose it.

The actual decision lies with frequent-flyer Alok Sharma who yesterday warned we were “on the brink of catastrophe” while also giving the go-ahead to new oil and gas fields.

Tomorrow the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world’s leading authority on climate science, will publish a comprehensive report showing how close humanity is to irreversible disaster caused by extreme weather. As that is published and people watch the crisis unfold in real-time, the inertia and culpability from our political leaders should provoke rage.

We’re not ‘on the brink’ we’re in the middle. We’re at the S in catastrophe.

Earth is hotter now than it has been for at least 12,000 years.

There are warning signs of the Gulf Stream collapsing.

Alok Sharma is President of COP26. The planet is burning and his solution is more petrol.

It doesn’t need to be like this. Last month Greenland showed real leadership suspending all new oil and gas exploration, the country’s government announced Thursday. Government officials said they believe the “price of oil extraction is too high,” citing both economic considerations and the fight against climate change.

“This step has been taken for the sake of our nature, for the sake of our fisheries, for the sake of our tourism industry, and to focus our business on sustainable potentials,” the Greenland government announced.

The government also announced that it has sent out a draft bill for consultation that would ban preliminary investigation, exploration and extraction of uranium.

Reality bite: the Scottish government can’t call itself a climate leader without opposing the Cambo oil field. The opportunity to leverage pressure from the COP conference, to shine on the world stage and to show climate leadership are in danger of being thrown away.


Comments (19)

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  1. Blair Breton says:

    And an undlying reason for this deal is give a clear statement of majority for a an independence referendum. Strengthens Scots hand dealing with Westminster, and Scots have made a lot of progress on the Green policies. Cheap electricity from renewable sources to make hydrogen, much wind and hydro, and now tidal.

    1. Mouse says:

      I have my doubts that H2 makes much sense. It doesn’t naturally occur unless you’re on the Sun. The hydrolysis of H2 from water and electricity is really energy-inefficient. Unless you want to store it in Zeppelins you need to liquefy it at about 10,000 pounds per square inch of pressure at room temperature, which is also a hugely energy-inefficient process. Hence it requires serious infrastructure to contain it and do anything with it, and bearing that in mind, it is the most explosive gas known (see ‘Hindenburg disaster’ – the 1920’s were the last time H2 was produced on an industrial scale, for transport, and that conflagration was without compressing it to 5 tons per square inch to fit it in an engine’s fuel tank).

      1. Blair says:

        You might find this interesting. Perhaps an industry which an independent Scotland could work with.


        1. Mouse says:

          Thanks you. It would be a lot more interesting if they revealed what alloy they had in mind, and how hydrogen would be retrieved from it. Or something on their webpage showing that they are serious rather then pranksters.

  2. Dougie Blackwood says:

    Big oil, the travel companies and the extractive industries that despoil the planet do not want to have their gravey train derailed. Their deep pockets have governments in their control and demand that a move away from their product is an extended as far into the long grass as possible. Rainforests across the world are cut down for replacement with temporary crop production; stored carbon under the earth is taken out and burnt and the media today screams that summer holidays can yet be saved if only the holiday industry can be let rip.

    As is clear from this article and the pieces in the news, after “really important” news of Team GB, where we see the world in flames, time is running out. Much of Africa, the west of USA and large parts of eastern Asia are already deserts and those areas are growing at an alarming rate. Something that concerns me even more than the immediate catastrophies is the prospect of an end to the permafrost. As those frozen areas warm and thaw the biggest source of stored carbon on the planet is released at a rate the becomes exponential. We face runaway global warming and the extinction of almost all life as we know it.

  3. Mouse says:

    Oil and gas production isn’t the problem – it’s oil and gas consumption. At least as fuels. That’s you and me as the problem, not Shell. They are just facilitators. For us. Claiming that it’s all someone else’s fault, the Big Bad Baddy default, solves nothing.

    1. Dougie Blackwood says:

      You are right, if we didn’t use the products these companies would wither and die. It is not our first thought every day to avoid palm oil, beef, exotic foreign food, turning up the central heating or air conditioning, driving the car and going on a foreign holiday but it needs action from those that set the rules to make us think twice by hitting our pockets through taxing the polluters and perhaps prohibiting the worst excesses.

      1. Colin Robinson says:

        The problem for politicians, though, is that hitting the pockets of those who consume palm oil, beef, exotic foreign food, fossil fuels, and foreign holidays is that, as a policy, it’s a real vote loser.

        1. Wul says:

          We are never really presented with the real, actual choice we are making though, are we?

          “We can cut taxes!….and here’s slide showing your neighbourhood run down, bereft of public services and run jointly by Serco and “Tasers R Us”

          “Consumers demand choice! New Sainsbury’s in your town!….and here’s a picture of your high street with empty retail units, unemployed former grocers, empty food shelves, closed book shop, butchers, fishmongers, electrical goods shop…all gone. 10 varieties of pasta sauce though!”

          It is surely the job of our media and “public service” broadcasters to make the reality and implications of these choices clear and understandable?

          People are not stupid and lazy, it’s just that most of us are content to muddle on in the world around us whatever form it takes…until it’s too late.

          1. Colin Robinson says:

            ‘…most of us are content to muddle on in the world around us whatever form it takes…’

            Precisely, Wul! That’s the general will of society. How do we change it in the short time we have left till doomsday?

    2. Islander says:

      Exactly. Closing the North Sea doesn’t do anything to reduce global demand for oil. The world is awash with oil. Activists pretend that renewables offer a solution but it’s still insignificant globally. The Net Zero idea is probably counterproductive, like all unrealistic targets it fosters demoralisation

  4. Islander says:

    Why would Greenland ban uranium mining on CO2 grounds?

    1. Colin Robinson says:

      I’d imagine Greenland would welcome the revenue it will accrue from mining the rare earth elements we use in our hybrid and electric vehicles, wind turbines, solar panels, and batteries. Aren’t the US and China currently trying to outbid one another for the mining rights?

      1. Islander says:

        Interesting point

        1. Colin Robinson says:

          No, just trolling.

  5. Daniel Raphael says:

    Note the back-and-forth between “we the consumers are to blame” vs “corporate actors are to blame”; what this shows us is the divide, and THAT is the fundamental problem. If we were the owner/producers as well as consumers, there wouldn’t be this trade-off between profitability vs survival. See the logic there? We need socialism and I don’t mean maybe. What good is profit in a dead world?

    1. Mouse says:

      Socialism drained the Aral sea. I doubt that capitalism has the where-with-all for that kind of undertaking.

      1. Colin Robinson says:

        It does in its ‘command economy’ iteration. When its immense productive forces are harnessed by the state, capitalism can achieve anything. Perhaps the authoritarians are right; perhaps only a green dictatorship can save us from Nature’s last judgement.

  6. John Monro says:

    Nothing is being “thrown away” because there’s nothing there, in the Scottish Parliament, to throw away – these political players work in a rational and ethical vacuum. You can’t throw something away when it doesn’t even exist. Yes, those ideas and policies do exist in your mind, Mike, and mine, and many others, but it would appear that a presence in the Scottish parliament precludes such thinking, there may even be some sort of entry exam to confirm their absence. Double think, cognitive dissonance, call it what you will, is the abiding principle of all democracies, as those in power seek to square the circle of public expectation (votes) and nature’s reality. The former always wins.

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