Energy Charter Treaty

I agree with you that certain aspects of the ECT were holding both Scotland and the UK back from effectively tackling climate change. The UK Government needs the right to change its own energy systems to reach emissions reductions targets in line with the Paris Agreement without facing the risk of costly legal challenges.

That is why I and my Scottish Conservative colleagues welcome the news that the UK Government has reached an agreement to modernise the ECT. Once the agreement is signed in November, new investments in all types of fossil fuels would lose protection under the ECT in investor-state disputes.  This means that corporations will no longer be able to take legal action against the government for simply putting in place  policies to tackle climate change.

Existing investments from foreign companies into fossil fuels will lose protection under the ECT ten years after entry into force of the modernised treaty, except for existing investments in coal which would lose protection from 1 October 2024.

Furthermore, this modernised treaty will have a much stronger focus on promoting clean, affordable energy.

For the first time, overseas investments into the UK in green technologies, such as Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage and low-carbon hydrogen production will have legal protections. This will further incentivise green investment in the UK, creating growth and jobs whilst also helping Scotland achieve its net zero goals.

Whilst we welcome any move to incentivise investment in green energy, the Scottish Conservatives remain steadfast supporters of our oil and gas industry and believe that continued support for this industry is a vital component in our goal of reaching net-zero by 2045.

Unfortunately, I will be unable to support this motion, as I believe many of the issues you have highlighted will be addressed when the treaty is officially revised in November. I also believe that to stop climate change, we need to cooperate with our international partners. The best way to achieve this is through a modernised, bespoke ECT which is supported by the international community.

With that being said, I do agree that bold action is needed to stop climate change, and I will carefully consider any measures laid before the Scottish Parliament in the future.