The UK government has come under criticism for nominating SSE, an energy corporation based in Perth, as one of the first supporters of the Glasgow COP 26 climate summit.
As the key energy sector sponsors for the Scottish climate talks, SSE, Scottish Power and National Grid have been called.
The selection was revealed by UK summit organizers, concentrating on the trio’s proposals for an undersea “superhighway” in the North Sea to bring offshore wind power to the grid.
In figures collected by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, SSE was recently listed as Scotland’s single largest polluter in 2019, owing to the 1.6 million tons of carbon dioxide released by the gas-fired power plant of the energy company in Peterhead.
Critics also pointed out that SSE is investing in one of the few gas projects being built in the UK, the 840 MW Keadby 2 gas-fired power plant.
In order to minimize pollution to net zero by 2050, the UK has a legally binding target.
The progress shocked Friends of the Planet Scotland, when the UK government declared in August that it was searching for donors with “credible plans for climate action.”
“While the worst large oil companies are conspicuously absent from this initial list of sponsors for the climate summit in Glasgow, the companies chosen by the UK government hardly show the kind of climate leadership we desperately need at this stage of the crisis,” said Mary Church, head of campaigns of the environmental group.
SSE’s decision is somewhat surprising, considering that the company operates the most polluting site in Scotland, the Peterhead gas-fired power plant, which annually emits over one and a half million tons of climate-damaging pollution.
“No public promises or arrangements have been made by SSE to close the power station and ensure a fair transition for staff. As a consequence, it is difficult to see how they satisfy the requirements of the UK government to endorse COP26 for realistic short-term climate action plans. SSE can boast of being a leading generator of renewable energy, but it is struggling to generate the decent green jobs that are urgently needed here in Scotland as development contracts go overseas for the £ 3 billion Seagreen offshore wind project.
Earlier this month, Scottish Government Business Secretary Fiona Hyslop MSP criticized SSE for not granting a contract to BiFab for the £ 3 billion Seagreen offshore wind farm, which is being built off Fife’s east coast.
In China and the United Arab Emirates, all platforms for the 114 turbines will be manufactured.
It said the decision was essential in preventing the company from reopening its mothballed yards in Fife and Lewis, seen as a key factor in Scotland’s green jobs revolution.
Perth-based SSE operates wind turbines, power grids and transmission networks and is one of the only Scottish-based companies listed on the London Stock Exchange in the blue-chip FTSE 100 index.
Ms. Church added, “This initial COP26 sponsorship announcement shows that the UK government is going down the path of greenwashing rather than demonstrating the real leadership needed for climate action to address climate breakdown in this critical decade.” These significant conversations should not be permitted to influence major polluters and others who would encourage their greenwashing. Much like big tobacco was barred from its premises by the World Health Organisation, climate polluters must be thrown out of climate negotiations.
SSE said it is investing £ 7.5 billion in “low carbon infrastructure” for the UK and Ireland, including the construction of the world’s largest offshore wind farm in the North Sea, in announcing the sponsorship.
“Flexible thermal plants, such as those being built at Keadby 2, have a role to play in the transition to net zero energy under any pathway and will replace other less efficient generation and support security of supply,” said an SSE spokesman.
In 2018, Scottish, headquartered in Glasgow, agreed to withdraw all coal and gas plants from its portfolio and focus solely on renewables. It says it will spend £ 10 billion ($ 13 billion) over the next five years in clean energy production.
In England and Wales, as well as portions of the northeastern United States, National Grid owns and operates the power transmission network.
“I am delighted to announce our first sponsors for Cop26,” said Cop26 President-elect Alok Sharma,