A majority of Scottish voters think it is easier to transition away from oil and gas to renewable and cleaner energy sources as part of the UK, compared to as an independent country, according to a new opinion poll.
The poll, commissioned by the Conservative Environment Network, found that a majority of Scottish voters think that being part of the UK makes it easier for Scotland to fund new green energy projects (52 per cent), trade energy across the UK (56 per cent), upgrade infrastructure for clean energy (55 per cent), and develop new green technologies (51 per cent).
A plurality of Scottish voters (44 per cent) think it's easier to achieve net zero emissions as part of the UK, while only 31 per cent believe delivering the transition would be easier for an independent Scotland.
Forty-nine per cent think Scotland would be more likely to host another global climate change summit as part of the UK following the successful COP26 in Glasgow, while only 22 per cent think it would be more likely if the country were independent.
Three-quarters of Scottish voters (75 per cent) think that in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, we need to accelerate the UK’s transition to renewable energy. Nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) think achieving net zero will be good for Scotland’s economy. Fifty-four per cent think the Government should encourage energy companies to transition to renewable energy.
Liam Kerr, Scottish Conservative Cabinet Member for Net Zero, Energy, and Transport and MSP for North East Scotland, commented: “Scotland can lead the global energy transition because it is easier to secure investment and to trade as part of the United Kingdom. We can already see the benefits of the Union for unlocking investment in our world-leading offshore wind sector, which is providing cheap power and thousands of skilled jobs across the UK.
“Having long been Europe's oil and gas capital, Aberdeen and the North East can also become the continent's net zero powerhouse at the forefront of new industries like floating offshore wind and carbon capture. It’s good to see Scottish voters recognise this vision can only be realised as one United Kingdom.”
Sam Hall, Director of the Conservative Environment Network, commented: “Net zero is easier as one United Kingdom. By pooling our financial resources, trading renewable energy freely, and speaking as one loud voice on the global stage, the United Kingdom can be a more effective champion of climate action than if the country was broken up. Climate action is one of many reasons why we are better together.”