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by Louise Wilson
27 October 2021
Environmental campaigners urge First Minister to reject Cambo

Holyrood

Environmental campaigners urge First Minister to reject Cambo

Environmental campaigners have written to the First Minister urging her to oppose the new Cambo oil field.

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, an alliance of environmental organisations, third sector groups and trade unions, warned that approving Cambo would “badly tarnish Scotland’s climate credentials.”

The letter also said the UK Government would be committing a “serious breach of global trust” if it does not step in.

The Oil and Gas Authority is currently considering whether to grant approval for the extraction of oil from the oilfield just off the west coast of Shetland.

The First Minister has previously urged the Prime Minister to review all existing oil and gas licenses where development has not taken place to ensure plans are in line with climate ambitions.

An exploration licence for the Cambo field, which contains more than 800m barrels of oil, was granted in 2001.

Approval for extraction could see drilling continue until at least 2047 – two years after Scotland is due to be net zero and three years before the rest of the UK is set to follow.

The letter to the FM says: “Opening new oil fields, against the recommendations of the International Energy Agency, risks delaying necessary action towards building a renewable economy and increases the likelihood of a disorderly transition further down the line.”

It continued: “We urge you to quickly, clearly and publicly call for the rejection of Cambo and all new oil and gas projects and support a managed phase-out from the North Sea in line with keeping global temperature rises to 1.5ºC, while increasing renewables and ensuring a just transition for affected workers and communities.

“To take a stand now would demonstrate Scotland’s true leadership and commitment to climate justice ahead of COP26.”

Speaking at a TEDx event in Edinburgh earlier this month, Nicola Sturgeon warned against turning off the supply of oil and gas in the short-term saying that it could lead to a spike in imports and leave behind communities in the north east.

But in a speech on Monday, she said continuing to extra fossil fuels for as long as possible was the wrong approach.

She said: “For countries like ours - with significant remaining reserves of oil and gas - it is tempting to tell ourselves that for both economic and energy reasons, we must keep exploring for and extracting oil and gas until the last possible moment. That, in my view, would be fundamentally wrong.”

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