Scottish Government urged big oil to use young people to boost COP26 message

Investigation by Rob Edwards


The Scottish Government urged the oil and gas industry to use “the voices of young people” for “powerful messaging” at the COP26 climate summit, according to a document obtained by The Ferret.

During a conference call in February 2021 the then energy minister, Paul Wheelhouse, pressed for young people to be involved in “sharing the good practice” of oil and gas companies.

An official minute of the call released under freedom of information law reveals that he asked the UK Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) to talk to Holyrood political advisers about the industry “raising its profile internationally” at COP26.

Campaigners described Wheelhouse’s reported remarks as “deeply cynical” and accused the Scottish Government of “tokenising” a generation. Ministers should have encouraged the oil industry to listen to what young people from around the world are actually saying at COP26, they said.

Wheelhouse, right, who ceased being a minister after he lost his seat in the May elections, said that his comments had been misunderstood. Young people in the oil business were challenging industry leaders to do better and that was “surely a valuable message”, he argued.

The Ferret revealed in September 2021 that as minister Wheelhouse had consulted oil multinationals on “choreography around COP26”. We also reported that most OGA directors and managers used to work for the industry, and three had shares worth over £225,000 in oil and gas companies.

Full story on The Ferret website

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