If the government doesn’t take action on the Cambo oil field its ‘climate credibility will go up in smoke’

Support us and go ad-free

Both the UK and the Scottish governments are being urged to speak out against controversial plans to develop a new oilfield – with campaigners claiming an area of land larger than all of Scotland would be needed to counteract emissions from the proposed Cambo development.

If given the go-ahead, the site, in the waters off Shetland, could yield as many as 255 million barrels of oil over its lifetime, environmental campaigners at Oxfam Scotland said.

And they estimated that the 132 million tonnes of CO2 emissions that could be produced would require an area of land some 1.5 times the size of Scotland to counteract them.

A climate disaster

Jamie Livingstone, the head of Oxfam Scotland, said in the run-up to the Cop26 climate summit in November that the UK government must “intervene in the Cambo case and stop its climate credibility going up in smoke”.

With the global summit taking place in Glasgow, he also insisted that the Scottish Government had a “duty” to press UK ministers to reject the Cambo plans.

He spoke out on the issue as Oxfam published a new report which estimated that for all current net zero plans to be achieved, an area equivalent to all the farmland on earth would need to be converted to forest, putting food production at risk.

The Scottish government has “a duty” to speak out

The report stated:

Oxfam has calculated that the total amount of land required for planned carbon removal could potentially be five times the size of India, or the equivalent of all the farmland on the planet.

It stated that net-zero targets “instead of focusing primarily on the hard work of cutting carbon emissions, for example by rapidly ending the use of coal, oil and gas for electricity and oil for cars, rely instead on using other methods to remove carbon from the atmosphere”.

The Tightening the Net report added:

The problem is this removal of carbon either relies on virtually unproven new technologies, or on a level of land use that is completely impossible and would lead to mass hunger and displacement of people across the world.

Livingstone said:

The proposed new Cambo oilfield is a clear climate contradiction. If the UK Government is to be a credible broker for a deal that can stop the planet overheating when it hosts the COP26 climate talks in November, it must intervene in the Cambo case and stop its climate credibility going up in smoke.

The Scottish Government has a duty to demand it does just that.

Our lives and our future depend on taking action

A Scottish Government spokesperson said:

We are wholly committed to becoming a net-zero economy by 2045 and, whilst this is ultimately a reserved area, any Scottish Government support for oil and gas businesses operating in the North Sea is conditional upon them contributing to a sustainable and inclusive energy transition, and ensuring a secure energy supply.

The oil and gas sector can play a positive role in Scotland’s energy transition, helping to design the diverse energy system we need for the future.

The knowledge and experience of the oil and gas sector and its supply chain will also be important for developing and investing in essential low-carbon technologies, such as carbon capture utilisation and storage – a technology that is seen by experts such as the UK Climate Change Committee and International Energy Agency as being vital to achieving Scottish, UK and international climate emissions targets.

In 2020 we launched our £62 million Energy Transition Fund to support the oil, gas and energy sectors grow and diversify, accelerating its transition to net-zero emissions.

Fair Work principles are being applied across projects funded by the Energy Transition Fund, supporting the creation of green jobs and training individuals with the skills they need to ensure a just transition to net zero with people’s wellbeing at its heart.

But Livingston stated:

All of our lives and futures depend on the world’s biggest polluters quickly, drastically and genuinely slashing their emissions, phasing out fossil fuels and investing in clean energy and supply chains.

Instead, what we’re seeing is too many net-zero strategies being used as smokescreens to mask dirty behaviour: promising unrealistic carbon removal schemes in order to justify the continued plundering of our planet.

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us