Activists are occupying a UK Government hub in Edinburgh to call on government ministers to reject proposals for the Cambo oilfield.
Protest organisers say around a dozen ‘Stop Cambo’ campaigners got inside Queen Elizabeth House in the capital at 7.30am on Monday, and are blocking the main entrance by sitting and lying down in front of it.
There are more campaigners with placards outside, and around 200 people are expected to attend a rally later in the day where Green and Labour MSPs will address the crowd.
The group is hoping the move will convince Prime Minister Boris Johnson to halt plans for oil companies to develop the 800-million-barrel Cambo oilfield to the west of Shetland.
This comes after the International Energy Agency produced a report in May which says no new oil and gas fields should be developed, excluding those already sanctioned, if the global energy sector is to achieve net zero emissions.
Last week 14 environmental organisations called on Westminster to halt the project, and Friends of the Earth Scotland started a petition.
Campaigners want to show UK Government they are ‘serious’ on climate action
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.
Mikaela Loach, one of the activists, said: “There are 12 people inside the building occupying that space and stopping people from getting to work and causing disruption.
BREAKING: I'm taking the UK government to court to pull the plug on public payments for big polluters. In recent years companies like @Shell and @bp_plc were actually #PaidToPollute. We think the polluter should pay, not us. Support our case here: https://t.co/kAfe1B7cmF pic.twitter.com/ysVhseCg4X
— Mikaela Loach (@mikaelaloach) May 12, 2021
“There are protests outside as well – we have placards and are chatting to people on the street.
“And at 4pm we are having a rally and Scottish Greens co-leader Lorna Slater and North East MSP Mercedes Villalba will be giving speeches, as will I, some people from COP26, some students and some ex-oil and gas workers.
“This is to raise awareness of the face the UK Government looks set to approve the Cambo oilfield in the North Sea, just months before COP26.
“We want to show the UK Government we are serious and don’t want them to just push this under the covers.
“It is a great way for people to support the campaign and put pressure on the government to change their policy and bring their actions in line with climate leaders.
“There is going to be a couple hundred people this evening and we have had lots of support online from all over the world, including India, Bangladesh, the Caribbean and Australia.
“This is a good opportunity for normal human beings to become active against climate change, expose the hypocrisy of the UK Government, and create a better world.”
There will continue to be demand for oil and gas, says UK Government
In response to the Stop Cambo campaign Jonathan Roger, chief executive of Siccar Point which has a 70% stake in the project, says it will support the UK’s energy transition while “maintaining a secure UK supply and creating jobs”.
Speaking to Energy Voice, he added: “We have proactively taken significant steps to minimise the emissions footprint through its design.”
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.”