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Sturgeon accused of ‘baby steps’ over Cambo oil field

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Nicola Sturgeon wants oil licences ‘reassessed’

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to “reassess” oil and gas licences, including the controversial Cambo project, in light of commitments to reducing fossil fuel consumption.

In a letter to Downing Street, Ms Sturgeon asks for a re-think of those licences already issued but where field development has not yet commenced.

Her request is “in light of the scientific report published by the IPCC this week and the severity of the climate emergency we now face. That would include the proposed Cambo development.”

The First Minister has also proposed a UK four nations summit to ensure that global leadership on the challenging decisions that need to be made to ensure a just transition to net zero is demonstrated in the run-up to COP26 and beyond.

In her letter she asks Mr Johnson to commit to “significantly enhancing the climate conditionality” associated with offshore oil and gas production.

Labour accused the First Minister of shifting responsibility on to Westminster, though she pointed out that “key decisions on offshore licencing (sic), regulation and policy are reserved to the UK government.”

Scottish Labour net-zero, energy and transport spokesperson Monica Lennon said: “Scottish Labour has been urging Nicola Sturgeon to get off the fence and oppose the Cambo oil field plans in the face of climate catastrophe.

“In the wake of growing pressure from grassroots campaigners, she has taken a baby step towards having a position. Now is not the time to ‘reassess’.

“It’s time for Nicola Sturgeon to firmly and loudly oppose Cambo, once and for all.”

The Cambo oil field is about 75 miles to the west of Shetland in water depths of between 1,050m to 1,100m. It contains more than 800 million barrels of oil.

The UK government says the original exploration licence to search for oil and gas in the area was granted in 2001.

If approved by the Oil and Gas Authority, drilling at Cambo could start next year. The field is expected to produce oil and gas for approximately 25 years.

GMB General Secretary Gary Smith said: “Our political class still fail to recognise the realities of gas, where our nations are increasingly dependent on imports to supply the four-fifths of households that rely on it for heating – there is little honesty here for consumers or the hundreds of thousands of jobs dependent on the sector.

“Rather than political posturing, our leaders need to take responsibility and properly collaborate on a credible energy and industrial strategy, ensuring affordable and secure supply, while stopping the mass export of the green jobs we need to support the delivery of our net zero targets.”

Comment: How the green tail is wagging the SNP dog

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