The north-east oil and gas industry should be “deeply concerned” by some of the language used in the climate change debate, an MP has said.

Gordon Tory MP Colin Clark acknowledged that the UK “must reduce greenhouse gases” but warned that there is increasing “political point scoring at the cost of all hydrocarbons”.

Mr Clark told the Press and Journal that it was key to “back a responsible oil and gas sector” while at the same time “ensuring we do not offshore our climate change responsibilities”.

He said: “Around 280,000 UK jobs depend on oil and gas and the north-east economy drives the Scottish economy.

“People in the north-east have to be clear, do the opposition parties agree with the Conservatives that this is a vital transition fuel reducing green house gases or do they care less about the thousands of workers in north-east Scotland.”

Mr Clark also criticised New Zealand’s decision to ban all new exploration as part of a plan to go carbon-neutral, he said the nation was “offshoring their responsibility”.

The comments come after a week of climate change protests in London and a speech in Parliament by teenage activist Greta Thunberg.

The 16-year-old has described the UK’s response to climate change as “beyond absurd”.

In a speech to MPs, Ms Thunberg criticised the UK for supporting new exploitation of fossil fuels and exaggerating cuts to carbon emissions.

Ross Dornan, Oil and Gas UK’s market intelligence manager, called for a “pragmatic approach” to energy policy.

He told the Press and Journal: “We need an energy policy which recognises the crucial role the UK oil and gas industry is playing in the energy transition.

“This will ensure that this industry continues to provide security of energy supply, supports hundreds of thousands of jobs and contributes to the UK economy for many years to come, whilst serving as an enabler of the low carbon future we all want to see.”


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