Actor Brian Cox has been praised for his impassioned comments on the climate crisis during Question Time.
The 75-year old Succession star did not put his views on the crisis mildly, bluntly saying: “We’re in deep s**t.”
Ahead of the Cop26 climate summit, an audience member asked if the economy or the environment would be a priority when choosing what to do with the domestic oil industry if Scotland were to become independent.
Scottish finance secretary Kate Forbes MSP initially responded to the audience member and said they are not mutually exclusive. She said there are economic opportunities in being green, and that jobs can be created in the just transition.
Forbes and Conservative MP Andrew Bowie began a back and forth about carbon capture, before Cox weighed in on the debate.
'We're in deep sh*t!': Actor Brian Cox warns of climate crisis https://t.co/oIEza8EQ2D
“This is not a party political issue,” Cox said. “We’re in deep s**t. We really are.”
The audience clapped Cox’s candid remark before he continued: “To use a Scottish word, I’m well and truly scunnered, quite frankly.”
Cox then cited reports of over 30,000 leaked documents which show that major countries, including Saudi Arabia and Australia, want the UN to downplay the urgency with which we need to move away from fossil fuels.
“The planet is being destroyed and we have to rethink it,” he said. “We have to make certain sacrifices in order to get better and we can’t fall into ‘we can’t afford that because we’ll lose that’ — but we have to think first and foremost about the planet and our responsibility to the planet.”
The audience again clapped, before host Fiona Bruce brought the conversation back to the original question about how an independent Scotland would balance the economy and the environment.
Cox said: “Well I think they have to put the environment first, I really do.”
He said as a small country Scotland could lead by example, adding: “we can actually make those sacrifices because ultimately, we can afford it.”
Bowie then spoke about the importance of private investment and said Britain is leading the G20 in terms of cutting carbon.
Cox interjected and said: “We have to do better.” Bowie agreed and said we have to “go further and faster”.
Viewers took to Twitter to praise Cox, with some branding him a “national treasure”:
🏴Brian Cox is a Scottish national treasure https://t.co/U9J7Zk0nDX
The audience member’s question over how an independent Scotland would balance its economic and environmental interests is particularly timely given the possibility of another Scottish independence referendum, and under the weight of Scotland’s commitment to be a net-zero society by 2045 — five years before the rest of the UK.
Last night’s episode of Question Time was also broadcast from Glasgow, where in just over a week world leaders will gather from Cop26.
Cox did however face criticism for responding “that’s life” when asked about the Glasgow waste crisis. The comment was in response to an audience member’s question concerning how Glasgow’s streets are filled with rubbish and rats just days before Cop26.
Initially responding to the concern, Cox said: “I think it’s great that Glasgow is hosting Cop26.”
When Bruce asked for a comment on the issue of rubbish collection, rats and fly-tipping, Cox said: “That’s life.”
Bowie challenged his comment and said: “For people living in Glasgow that shouldn’t be ‘life’.”
Jamie Halcro Johnston MSP branded Cox’s comments as “shameful”, with Cllr Thomas Kerr also slamming the actor’s remark.