Steve Brine clashes with SNP MSP over Cambo oil field
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Shell, which had a 30 percent stake in the field, pulled out of the project last week after fierce opposition to it from environmental activists, who argued that the oilfield will hamper global plans to limit global warming to 1.5C. Cambo is one of the UK’s largest undeveloped offshore oilfields and lies in Scotland.
In November, as COP26 ended in Glasgow, Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon took a strong stance against the proposed development, saying: “I don’t think that Cambo should get the green light.”
It comes after Ms Sturgeon previously threw her weight behind oil and gas projects in Scotland.
Tessa Khan, an international climate change and human rights lawyer, and the director of Uplift, spoke to Express.co.uk about the criticism ministers are facing due to Cambo.
Critics argued that transitioning to renewable energy too fast would hurt Scotland and keep them reliant on imported fossil fuels.
Ms Khan said: “Both the Government and oil and gas industry have latched onto the phrase ‘just transition’, but they seem to have entirely missed its meaning.
“Under their current plans, the UK isn’t phasing out oil and gas with anything like the urgency needed, the jobs and future prospects of oil and gas workers are still being left to the whims of the market, and the communities that rely on oil and gas are in danger of being forgotten.
“That’s not a just transition. The Government must get on the front foot and come up with a proper plan to move away from oil and gas production that has the interests of workers and affected communities at its heart.”
“In these circumstances, it is deeply irresponsible of the UK government to leave the fate of oil and gas workers and their communities to the whims of a market and industry that will consistently put short-term interests and profits above anything else.”
She also praised Ms Sturgeon for her stance against the pipeline, adding: “It’s positive to see that Nicola Sturgeon is listening to the science and changing her position accordingly, but she must also take action to rapidly scale up clean, renewable energy and protect oil and gas workers and their communities by delivering a genuine just transition.”
Cambo is one of 30 new offshore oil and gas projects planned for the UK in the coming years.
There are presently more than 200 fields already in operation in the North Sea, which Ms Khan claimed “will continue to produce what we need”.
Ms Sturgeon’s political career is now in question as many, including former first minister Alex Salmond, believe her stance on the controversial project could sink the case for independence and cost the SNP thousands of votes.
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Alex Salmond compared this position to former UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher’s abandonment of coal-mining communities.
He said: “It would be akin to Margaret Thatcher, having closed the pits, then campaigning for votes in the old mining areas of Cowdenbeath and Kelty.”
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