Press release: First Minister urged to reject Cambo oil field

  • 27 Oct 2021
  • Press Release, Energy

First Minister urged to “address the elephant in the room” and strongly reject new Cambo oil field

A coalition of over 60 charities, unions and community groups has urged Nicola Sturgeon to explicitly condemn plans to drill an enormous new Cambo oilfield off the coast of Shetland.

On the eve of crucial climate talks COP26 beginning in Glasgow this weekend, Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) has written to the First Minister asking her to call on the Prime Minister to reject the proposed Cambo oil field, and all new oil and gas projects, to avoid undermining Scotland and the UK’s climate credibility.

The letter comes just after the First Minister said it would be “fundamentally wrong” for countries like Scotland to “keep exploring for and extracting oil and gas” and announced that the Scottish Government will no longer support unlimited extraction of fossil fuels. Campaigners say that Cambo is now the “elephant in the room”, and the First Minister must put her words into action and oppose the climate wrecking project.

Cambo, west of Shetland, is the second largest undeveloped field on the UK Continental Shelf, containing 800 million barrels of oil. Under the proposals, the first phase seeks to extract 170 million barrels ‒ the climate equivalent of running 18 coal-fired power stations for a year ‒ and would continue until 2050: five years after Scotland is due to reach net-zero emissions. The second phase would continue beyond 2050, and aims for ‘full-field development’.

The decision on whether to develop the oil field will be taken at UK level, and the First Minister has already called on Boris Johnson to “reassess” the plans in light of the climate emergency. 

However, Stop Climate Chaos Scotland says the First Minister must come out against the Cambo plans to show true leadership on climate ahead of the UN climate summit, COP26, which opens this Sunday in Glasgow.

“The First Minister has now acknowledged that unlimited drilling for oil and gas is incompatible with the climate crisis, and has said that the Scottish Government will end their support for drilling every last drop of oil and gas from the North Sea. The reality of the climate crisis is so devastating and the consequences of approving this field are so grave, that the First Minister must now address the elephant in the room and strongly reject Cambo.

“Climate science is clear that there can be no new oil and gas projects. Instead, we need a managed phase-out from the North Sea in line with keeping global temperature rises to 1.5ºC, while scaling up renewables and ensuring a just transition for affected workers and communities.”

Caroline Rance, Climate and Energy Campaigner at Friends of the Earth Scotland, on behalf of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland

“Climate change is already wreaking havoc around the world and continuing to burn more and more fossil fuels will only result in more deaths, more poverty and more suffering.

“The fact that on the eve of COP26 the Prime Minister is still weighing up whether or not to green light an enormous new oilfield at Cambo is utterly inconceivable, incompatible with the Government’s stated climate ambitions and inconsistent with the need to inspire much faster global climate action.

“Now is the time for the First Minister to send an unequivocal message to the Prime Minister on Cambo: not in our backyard, not on my watch and not in Scotland’s name.”

Jamie Livingstone, Head of Oxfam Scotland, on behalf of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland

Notes to Editors

About Stop Climate Chaos Scotland

  • Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) is a diverse coalition of over 60 organisations campaigning together on climate change.
  • We believe that the Scottish Government should take bold action to tackle climate change, with Scotland delivering our fair share of action in response to the Paris Agreement and supporting climate justice around the world.
  • Our coalition members range from environment, faith and development organisations to trade and student unions and community groups.
  • Our work is led by our members and is normally focussed on lobbying decision makers in Scotland, but we also work on UK-wide campaigns when appropriate with our sister organisations in England (The Climate Coalition) and Wales (Stop Climate Chaos Cymru).