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by Andrew Learmonth
16 November 2021
First Minister: 'I do not think that Cambo should get the green light'

First Minister: 'I do not think that Cambo should get the green light'

Nicola Sturgeon has told MSPs that the Cambo oil field should not be given the green light. 

It’s the first time, that the SNP leader has explicitly said the extraction of oil from the oilfield, just off the west coast of Shetland, not to go ahead. 

Previously, she has said Cambo, which is likely to be approved by the UK government, and will have the capacity to extract 150 million barrels of oil and operate until 2050, should be re-examined over "the severity of the climate emergency".

During a statement on the recent COP26 summit in Glasgow, Labour’s Monica Lennon asked the First Minister to go further. 

Lennon said: “If we are serious about averting climate catastrophe and accelerating towards a just transition for a green economy, Cambo cannot go ahead.

“There is no rigorous climate change test that Cambo can possibly pass.

“So the First Minister must do more than ask the UK Government to simply reassess the proposed oil field – time is running out.

“Will the First Minister oppose Cambo in the strongest possible terms and provide the political leadership that has been lacking?”

Sturgeon said: “I have made my position very clear. I do not think that we can go on extracting new oil and gas forever—that is why we have moved away from the policy of maximum economic recovery—and I do not think that we can continue to give the go-ahead to new oilfields, so I do not think that Cambo should get the green light. 

“I am not the one taking that decision, so I have set out a proposal for a climate assessment, and I think that the presumption would be that Cambo could not and should not pass any rigorous climate assessment.

“Monica Lennon might want to join me in calling for the powers to be transferred to Scotland so that we can take the decisions. However, given that it is somebody else who has the power, I have set out a process by which a different decision could be arrived at.”

Scottish Conservative net zero spokesperson, Liam Kerr, said the First Minister had "fully abandoned Scotland's oil and gas industry".

He added: “By refusing to back the Cambo development, the SNP have deserted the industry they once cited as the cornerstone of their economic case for independence.

“Only the Scottish Conservatives are resolute in standing up for the livelihoods of oil and gas workers in Scotland as we transition to net zero.”

However, the position was welcomed by Scottish Greens climate spokesperson Mark Ruskell.

He said: "She is absolutely right that expanding oil and gas is folly during the pressing climate crisis. That’s why with Greens in government Scotland is investing in the alternatives, expanding renewable energy and decarbonising homes and transport, creating new jobs along the way.

“It is also welcome that the First Minister recognises the leadershi shown by the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance. Scotland, too, can lead by example.”

Friends of the Earth Scotland's head of campaigns, Mary Church, said: "We welcome the First Minister's acknowledgement that there is no credible climate test that the Cambo oil field could ever pass. This is an important progression of the Scottish Government's position, which must now translate into clear opposition to all new fossil fuel projects.

"When you’re in a hole, you have to stop digging. To meet the 1.5C goal, we need to keep all fossil fuels safe in the ground.

"It’s time to turn rhetoric on just transition into action that ensures that people and communities working in oil and gas are at the heart of planning a fair and fast phase out, whilst scaling up renewable energy to help create decent green jobs.”

Greenpeace's Sam Chetan Welsh said: “We welcome the First Minister showing leadership, listening to the science and saying no to the Cambo oil field, which has no place in the transition to Scotland's low carbon future.

Hopefully this, on top of the many similar comments from scientists, energy experts and leaders around the globe, clarifies the situation for the Prime Minister. Scotland doesn’t want Cambo, and neither does the rest of the world."

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