The Scottish Greens are challenging Holyrood to oppose plans to potentially develop an oilfield off the coast of Shetland, saying it is “incompatible” with the country’s climate targets.
Westminster looks set to agree to invest and develop the Cambo oilfield in the North Sea, and if approved it could produce up to 170 million additional barrels of oil in its first phase.
This would be equivalent to running 18 coal-fired power stations for a year.
The Scottish Green Party says if approved, this new oilfield would operate until 2050, which is “well past the point” and “too late” to contain global warming.
Demonstration against Cambo proposals
Around a dozen people occupied the building and blocked the entrance, followed by a rally.
At the rally, Green party co-leader Lorna Slater spoke and said: “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.
🎥 "For the UK Tory government to issue new licences for additional for exploration and production of oil and gas in the North Sea shows how reckless and irresponsible Westminster is when it comes to environmental policy." – @lornaslater pic.twitter.com/U6XbAHQWdH
— Scottish Greens (@scottishgreens) July 19, 2021
“They have no respect for their legal obligations to a treaty which they signed with the international community.”
The campaigners also say such a proposal should not be agreed when Glasgow is due to host the COP26 UN climate conference in November.
Plan would be a “catastrophic decision”
Mark Ruskell, the Scottish Green’s environment spokesman, is now lodging a motion with the Scottish Parliament which will highlight a report from the International Energy Agency, which says there should be no new investment in oil and gas fields if the UK is to achieve its net-zero targets.
He said: “The North Sea already has more oil than we can afford to burn if we are to meet the Paris climate commitments and secure our survival, so approving new fields would be a catastrophic decision by the UK Government.
“It’s important that the Scottish Parliament is clear in the messages it sends ahead of COP26, and that starts with urging the UK Government to see sense on this.
“I urge MSPs of all parties to back my motion.”
A spokesperson for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy at the UK Government said: “The original licensing approval for the Cambo oilfield dates back to 2001.
“The secretary of state is not involved in the decision whether to grant consent for the Cambo oilfield.
“While we are working hard to drive down demand for fossil fuels, there will continue to be ongoing demand for oil and gas over the coming years, as recognised by the independent Climate Change Committee.”