Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing recently stated that increasing the rate of oil and natural gas recovery in the North Sea by 1 percent would generate around $35 billion in tax revenue. With this in mind, the 9th January edition of Newsnight Scotland focused on the UK’s energy strategy in the region.
The programme invited experts to come and debate the issue in the context of global energy production, pricing and climate impacts. E3G founding director Tom Burke was invited to be on a panel which also included energy analyst Daniel Hunter and Sunday Herald environment editor Rob Edwards.
He warned of the dangers of relying too much on oil and gas predictions as they are notoriously volatile. Tom insisted that the priority for policymakers should be a focus on energy efficiency, as well as working on how to separate the price of oil and gas from the bills that households and businesses must pay. Scotland, he asserted, has been wise to place a much greater emphasis on renewables, because policy needs to get the most value out of the resources that you control.
Tom also expressed cynicism about the potential for a worldwide cheap gas revolution, arguing that the story is more complicated than the media headlines can suggest – it is often difficult new approaches such as shale gas to work. There is more that can be done to tackle the addiction to fossil fuels, he also argued.