EXPERTS have warned that “immediate and deep emissions reductions” are now needed to avert climate catastrophe – including a rapid decline in the use of oil and gas in a blow to plans to ramp up North Sea production.

A stark new UN document has revealed a global strategy to cut emissions by switching to increasingly cheap renewables and fuels such as hydrogen, as well as energy efficiency, capturing carbon and planting trees.

The IPCC's third part of its sixth assessment report highlights how consumers can be encouraged to make green choices in eating more plant-based diets, heating homes, taking up walking and cycling or driving electric cars, and how cities can be made greener, more walkable and healthier.

The science body, co-chaired by the head of Nicola Sturgeon’s panel to investigate a just transition for Scottish oil and gas workers, has insisted that emissions have to peak by between 2020 and before 2025 to limit warming to 1.5C or 2C, with rapid and deep reductions in the coming decades, including for methane which is produced through activities including North Sea oil and gas production.

North Sea industry leaders have insisted that continued fossil fuels production will be crucial in the coming years as a key part of transitioning the UK energy system and has warned that if exploration is reduced too rapidly, more oil and gas will be needed to be imported from overseas in order to meet demand.

UK Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has insisted his administration will “continue to back North Sea gas for energy security”, warning that “it would be complete madness to turn off our domestic source of gas”.

But he added that “the long-term solution is obvious”, which he said was a “move away from gas”, in favour of cheaper renewables - while the UK Government is also expected to ramp up nuclear energy.

The IPCC report warns that measures to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere are “unavoidable” if the world is to reduce emissions to zero overall by the second half of the century to meet the temperature goals.

Scotland has committed to cutting 1990 levels of emissions by 2030 – a pledge labelled “on the cringes of credibility” by the impartial Climate Change Committee.

MSPs have also promised to transform the Scottish economy in to a net zero one by 2045. The UK Government, which is due to unveil its updated energy strategy later this week, has made a 2050 net zero pledge.

The UN report finds there are still routes to curbing global warming to 1.5C, but without immediate action it will be impossible to achieve.

Report co-chair Jim Skea, who leads the Scottish Government’s just transition commission, said: “It’s now or never, if we want to limit global warming to 1.5C.

"Without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, it will be impossible.”

The world is well off track to make the necessary emissions cuts, with pollution continuing to rise and pushing temperatures towards dangerous levels, and there is more private and public money flowing into fossil fuels than into climate action.

The new report finds the economic benefits of cutting emissions exceed the cost of the action needed, while trillions of dollars of coal, oil and gas assets could become “stranded” as the world takes action to limit global warming.

UN secretary general Antonio Guterres said the report was a “litany of broken climate promises”, and called for an urgent shift of investment from fossil fuels towards renewables, protecting forests and cutting methane emissions.

Campaigners have called on politicians to finally pay attention to the grim warnings and turn warm words issues at the Cop26 climate conference in Glasgow last year, into action.

Friends of the Earth Scotland’s head of campaigns, Mary Church, said the chances of averting dangerous levels of global temperature rises are “shrinking fast”.

She added: “Deep emissions cuts are needed now, and the message at the heart of this latest study is that we must say no to all new oil and gas, put an end to fossil fuel subsidies and urgently start delivering a just transition for impacted communities.

“Despite the bleak findings of today's report, hope remains because the science also shows that another world, with decent standards of living for all, is possible within the remaining carbon budget. But only if we rapidly phase out fossil fuels, and wealthy countries responsible for driving the climate to the brink step up to the plate and start doing their fair share of action.”

Fabrice Leveque, climate and energy policy manager at WWF Scotland, added: “This report shows that climate change is moving faster than we are.

“We cannot hold on any longer to the polluting fossil fuels that are wrecking our climate and destroying the natural world on which we all depend. Political leaders, at home and abroad, must deliver on their climate promises and accelerate efforts this decade to limit global warming to 1.5°C. Unless we all dramatically scale up climate solutions and embark on a just transition, we will miss this crucial target soon.

“In Scotland, we have started the transition away from fossil fuels, with nearly all of our electricity coming from renewables. But that’s just one part of the energy jigsaw- focus must now shift to changing the way we heat our homes. This will mean moving away from traditional oil and gas boilers to heat pumps and district heating networks.

“With the clock ticking, the Scottish Government needs to deliver on its plans sooner rather than later, if we’re to hit our 2030 emissions target and protect ourselves against volatile energy prices in future.”