Scottish Greens co-leader Lorna Slater claimed pressing ahead with proposals to develop a new oilfield off the coast of Shetland is “climate change denial”.
‘Stop Cambo’ campaigners spent Monday 19 July occupying Queen Elizabeth House, a UK Government hub in Edinburgh, and demonstrating with placards on the street outside against plans to develop the Cambo oilfield.
The campaigners say if the plans are approved by the UK Government, the first stage of the project would extract 170 million barrels of oil, which is equivalent to running 18 coal-fired power stations for a year.
They say this is “irreconcilable” with Glasgow hosting the COP26 UN climate change conference in November.
Hundreds joined the campaign in the afternoon with politicians, climate activists and ex oil and gas workers making speeches against the Cambo proposals.
UK Government plans ‘irresponsible’
Ms Slater and Labour MSP for the North East Mercedes Villalba were among those making speeches and calling for the UK Government to scrap the Cambo plans.
Ms Slater said: “A report from the International Energy Agency in April said that for global temperatures to stay within 1.5 degrees there must be no new investment in fossil fuel projects.
'A majority of Scots support ending oil & gas extraction. The people get it. But the government still don’t.' – @lornaslater
— Scottish Greens (@scottishgreens) July 19, 2021
“For the UK Tory government to issue new licences for additional exploration and production of oil and gas in the North Sea shows how reckless and irresponsible Westminster is when it comes to environmental policy.
“They have no respect for their legal obligations to a treaty which they signed with the international community.
The impacts of opening Cambo Field are even worse than we thought 🚨
It will create pollution equal to 18 coal-fired power plants 🏭🏭🏭🏭 🏭🏭🏭🏭 🏭🏭🏭🏭🏭🏭🏭🏭 🏭🏭
— StopCambo (@StopCambo) July 13, 2021
“The stakes could not be higher – the climate emergency is the defining challenge of our age.
“We can already see drought, famine, devastating floods, fires, crop failures and species extinction happening around the world.
“The climate catastrophe isn’t something that will happen, it is something that is already happening.
The climate catastrophe isn’t something that will happen, it is something that is already happening.
“At a time when we are seeing climate targets being missed, and record temperatures being hit around the world, opening new oilfields is dangerous and nothing short of environmental vandalism.”
She added lobbyists from the oil and gas industry are “trying to put out fire with fire” and says to keep extracting oil and gas from the North Sea is “climate change denial”.
She added: “The eyes of the world will be on Scotland this November when world leaders gather in Glasgow for the COP26 climate conference.
“We need them to deliver the real and lasting climate action that we need.
“We need them to step up and be the big heroes.
“This is their chance to save the world.”
Developers still keen to push ahead
However Jonathan Roger, chief executive of Siccar Point which has a 70% stake in the project, says it remains committed to developing the Cambo site.
He said: “We respect people’s right to engage in dialogue, and to express their feelings and opinions in a safe and peaceful way.
“We have undertaken extensive consultation on the development, as rightly expected by government, regulatory and public stakeholders.
“We are committed to developing Cambo in a responsible manner which helps the UK meet its net-zero targets.
We are committed to developing Cambo in a responsible manner which helps the UK meet its net-zero targets.
“The majority of the UK’s energy needs are currently met by oil and gas and the Climate Change Committee and International Energy Agency have said that the UK will still need oil and gas for decades to come as part of the energy transition.
“Cambo has been in planning for many years and is included in the country’s long term energy projections.
“It will secure UK supply rather than rely on imports from less regulated countries, whilst creating more than 1,000 direct UK jobs and thousands more in the supply chain.
“The development has been designed to reduce emissions from the outset and will be built ‘electrification’ ready with the potential to import renewable power when it becomes feasible in the future.”
The UK Government added: “We are working hard to drive down demand for fossil fuels but we also know there will continue to be ongoing demand for oil and gas over the coming years.”