The five-year work programme that has been developed by Forestry and Land Scotland will enable Shell to claim up to 250,000 carbon units over the next 100 years through the creation of new woodlands and the restoration of degraded peatlands in and on Scotland’s national forests and land. All carbon units will be validated and verified under the woodland carbon code and the peatland code, as appropriate.
There is little in the public domain from the Scottish Government on that partnership. Perhaps the Scottish Government is—understandably—uncomfortable about taking money from one of the world’s largest polluters. However, Shell itself is boasting that the deal is worth £5 million and suggests that it will allow drivers to offset their fuel purchases. Can the minister confirm whether the sale of carbon credits from the public estate to fossil fuel corporations is now Government policy and whether any further deals are being discussed?
We come at the issue from a perspective that is fundamentally different from that of the member. The project does not change any of our ambitions or the work that we hope to do. We have the most ambitious climate change targets in the world, but we must recognise that we cannot cease production of oil overnight and just import problems from elsewhere. We have a just transition commission to help us to achieve the transition to a low-carbon economy. In the meantime, partnerships and initiatives like the one with Shell are vital and will continue to be so in our transition work. Such projects do not change the work that we have to do or alter any of our targets, but they help us to sequester more carbon from the atmosphere in the meantime.