Patrick Harvie Scottish Greens co-leader

Claim Patrick Harvie said industry must die is False

A fictionalised video portraying first minister Humza Yousaf and Green minister Patrick Harvie being rated by the investors in Dragon’s Den has gone viral in recent days. 

The clip was published by Mercurius, a channel which describes its content as “recording the decline and fall of the corrupt, incompetent and failed SNP”, on 20 August and it gained nearly 100,000 views on Twitter. 

An image of a quote attributed to Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie — included in the video — was shared by a number of prominent accounts, but one Twitter user, Duncan Hothersall, highlighted that the quote was not accurate

The video quotes Harvie as saying: “For the wellbeing of most people in the world, industry is dying, will die, must die.”

Recording of Patrick Harvie saying: “For the wellbeing of most people in the world, industry is dying, will die, must die.”

Mercurius video

Ferret Fact Service looked at this claim and found it False.

Evidence

The video intercuts sections from speeches by Humza Yousaf and Patrick Harvie with clips from the popular BBC show, Dragon’s Den. 

The sections of Harvie come from a speech made remotely to an Edinburgh and Lothians Regional Equality Council (ELREC) conference in November 2020. 

In it, he makes a case against new investment in the fossil fuel industry, and talks about how many of the reductions in emissions are a result of deindustrialisation, rather than policy choices from governments.

Deindustrialisation is the decline in the size and importance of the industrial sector to the economy. In Scotland this included the closure of power stations at Longannet and Cockenzie which were significant emitters of greenhouse gases. 

In the speech, Harvie says: “The arguments that the Green movement brought to the table back in the 70s and 80s – that there were limits to growth – that argument still holds strong. 

“Most politicians and most economists have still not moved away from the idea that everlasting economic growth from a finite planet is either achievable or meets the social needs for the wellbeing of most people in the world.”

Later in his speech, Harvie says that fossil fuel lobbyists should be excluded from the then-delayed COP26 event, and that pension funds should stop investing in the fossil fuel industry. 

He concluded by saying this would signal that “we recognise that the fossil fuel industry is dying, will die and must die and we should not be invested in the delusion that it has a long term future ahead of it”.

These two parts of the speech have been edited together in the video to suggest Harvie said: “For the wellbeing of most people in the world, industry is dying, will die, must die.”

In fact, this is two parts of the same speech, which take place nearly three minutes apart, and it omits the phrase “fossil fuel” which is the specific industry Harvie was referring to, rather than industry in general. 

Harvie is also misquoted at another point in the video.

He says “most of the reductions in carbon emissions have happened through deindustrialisation not through policy choices” at 2:16 in the ELREC speech.

Then at 2:56, he says the Green movement has had success in “challenging the more of everything approach that most government’s offer on transport. We need to be reducing demand for transport by making sure that people have access to things that they need”.

In the Mercurius video, these two sections are edited and spliced together to say: “We need to be reducing demand through deindustrialisation by challenging the more of everything approach that most government’s offer”.

This not an accurate representation of his speech.

Ferret Fact Service Verdict: False

Patrick Harvie did not say the quote as attributed to him in the viral video. The audio has been edited together from two parts of the same speech he made to an Edinburgh equalities charity event in November 2020. The video misleadingly omits the words “fossil fuel” to make it seem as though Harvie is calling for the end of industry in Scotland, rather than the end of the fossil fuel industry due to its impact on climate emissions.

This claim is false

Ferret Fact Service (FFS) is a non-partisan fact checker, and signatory to the International Fact-Checking Network fact-checkers’ code of principles.

All the sources used in our checks are publicly available and the FFS fact-checking methodology can be viewed here.

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Photo credit: Ric Lander, CC BY-SA 3.0

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