With the arrival of Liz Truss at Number 10, a yawning gulf (one of many) has further opened between Scotland and the rest of the UK over energy supply, where we get it, and how we balance the safety of future generations against those of today.

The gap was already there, but as this energy crisis sets in, and in the aftermath of Glasgow hosting of COP26, it widens.

For now we have a First Minister in Scotland, who has condemned the development of Cambo, and a Prime Minister who looks most likely to bring it back as a possibility. We have a Scottish Government moving away from maximising economic recovery of oil and a UK leader who seems to be leaning into it, whilst paying lip service to net zero. A spokesman for the Scottish Government last week reiterated ministers’ opposition to drilling new oil and gas fields which “do not present a timely solution to the current energy price crisis, nor our energy security needs”.

Contrast this with Truss, in her interview on Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, observing, “It’s important that we use the resources in the North Sea. There’s more we can do to exploit current gas fields. I support exploring fracking in parts of the United Kingdom.”

Almost everything we have seen and heard from Truss on climate has suggested that the children of tomorrow matter not one jot. In a year in which wildfires have raged across Europe and floods devastated Pakistan, her acceptance speech didn’t mention the word climate at all. In fact, it often appears as if, rather than solve two problems, an energy crisis and climate crisis, at once, she would fix one now and leave the other till later.

Among her plans, reportedly, is likely to be the issuing of around 130 licenses for drilling and exploration. It’s worth bearing in mind that according to the UK Climate Change Committee it takes an average of 28 years for an exploration licence to lead to oil and gas production. This would mean that these fields would be delivering round about the time that the world is meant to be delivering net zero, and five years after Scotland’s target for that goal.

And even if production happens faster, perhaps as soon as the end of this decade, it’s still not going to help with the “eye-watering” bills we are set to see this winter. In a recent article, Sonya Boodoo, vice-president of upstream at Rystad Energy, estimated that new licences would not come online “until the latter half of the 2020s” – and that though a new licensing round would “pave the way to bolstering” the UK’s energy security, it would be “unlikely to positively impact short-term production”.

Time runs short on this runaway train

In the UK the rate of production of oil and gas is currently dropping by about 5 percent a year. This drop off falls short of the kinds of reduction that we should be seeing in order to meet net zero targets.

The 2021 report, Unextractable Fossil Fuels In A 1.5 C world, found that UK oil and gas extraction should decline at rates of 6 percent and 7 percent on average per year respectively to provide a 50 percent chance of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5C.

Of course, new oil and gas field developments won’t happen without any push-back. Campaigners have already succeeded in stopping Cambo once and are likely to fight against it and others, including their current battle against the Jackdaw field. Energy security campaigner for Greenpeace UK, Philip Evans, has said the organisation is ready “to take legal action every time the government acts unlawfully to push through new oil and gas projects without checking the climate impacts.”

What’s striking is how many of Truss’s energy security answers, from nuclear power to new gas fields, are long term – and seem to have little to do with bringing down current bills. Sizewell C, which is set to be built at a cost of about £20 billion, will take 12 years to complete.

But what is almost as worrying as Truss herself is the names that have been mooted for her cabinet: Jacob Rees-Mogg, who once suggested that “every last drop of oil” should be extracted from the North Sea, tipped as possible business secretary; a possible Home Secretary in Suella Braverman, whose own campaign for leadership was an attack on net zero.

Truss’s message on energy offers a false promise, that oil and gas can save us from what is to come this winter – the terrifying energy bills that will plunge so many into poverty and drive this country, and other parts of the world, to the brink.

She is pushing a fantasy – that we can somehow quickly suck a lot of oil and gas out of the North Sea and then close it down again just in time to save the planet from its hothouse fate.

Such fantasies are powerful. But they are empty words filled with greenhouse-gas.

Read more: Nigel Farage. It's 'net stupid' to listen to him on net zero