That Scotland’s "black gold" has lost much of its lustre since 2008 is self-evident (What North Sea oil means for the Scottish economy, State of the nation, March 12). Russell Borthwick of Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce talks about the industry having "turned a corner" after a bout of acute cost-cutting. With more than 100,000 jobs lost, and those remaining no longer benefitting from hard-won skills and the requisite adherence to safety in an inherently dangerous industry, isn’t it time to take the focus off a high-carbon economic model that is not only dangling from a shoogly peg but is also seriously damaging to our environment?

The northeast of Scotland risks becoming yet another low-skill, low-productivity, low-wage economic region of the UK if we don’t turn the tide. Far more oomph must be put into a radical and urgent programme of diversification away from oil and gas. It may not be simple but as Mr Borthwick concedes, existing technologies and skills could well be transferable to sources of clean and renewable energy.

Highlighting a potential kitty of £826m of public and private-sector investment to slurp the remaining 20 billion plus barrels of oil out of the North Sea is perverse. Why not leave the gloopy stuff where it is and steer the money towards a sustainable future for Scotland, our children and grandchildren? Our overburdened little planet will breathe a sigh of relief. Those who cling on to it will be reminded that laying claim to being "the greatest wee country in the world" is more than mere hubris.

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