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Stop Cambo: what it is, plus how to show your support

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  • “The oil field would produce ten times the amount of emissions that Scotland does – environmentally, it’d be absolutely catastrophic.”

    If you caught the devastating IPCC report last month, you’ll know we’re officially at a seriously compromised point when it comes to global warming.

    Globally, our excessive carbon emissions are causing natural disasters and irreversible damage to our planet – damage that UN secretary general Antonio Guterres himself called a ‘code red for humanity.’

    The main takeaways of the study were clear: reduce our global carbon footprint fast, before it’s too late.

    So why, then, are the UK government currently trying to approve the installation of an oil field off the coast of the North Sea, just months before hosting the COP26 UN climate conference in Glasgow?


    Good question – and a question supporters of the #StopCambo campaign have been asking for months.

    What is the #StopCambo campaign?

    As above, a bid to stop the UK Government from drilling new oil from the North Sea, just off the coast of Shetland.

    The proposal states that as much as 1.7 billion barrels of oil could be drilled from the sea until 2050. To put this into context, the UK is supposed to reach net zero by 2050 – meaning Cambo would directly contradict that pledge.

    It’s waiting on approval from prime minister Boris Johnson, who, when questioned on why the Cambo oil field has got this far, simply said he ‘wasn’t aware’, but maintained that the government ‘can’t just tear up contracts.’

    He’s been highly criticised for the retort, and received an 80,000-signature strong petition opposing the oil field in August.

    Other countries, like Denmark and France, have actively banned new oil exploration licences. Sadly, the UK hasn’t been quite so forward-thinking – in 2020, 113 licences to search for oil were granted in the United Kingdom. According to TogetherBand, at the rate it’s currently progressing, the UK is on track to double or even quadruple its oil reserves before 2050.

    It’s in direct contradiction of the Paris Climate Agreement, too, which the UK signed in 2016. The premise is simple: to maintain global warming at a temperature of no higher than 1.5ºC. But in order to do this, changes must be made, and as the IPCC report highlighted, realistically no new coal, gas or oil developments should be granted – including Cambo.

    Despite all of this, the UK Government has maintained that it will allow the oil rig to go ahead – it doesn’t need to pass its standard climate compatibility test as it is part of a previously licensed project. Mel Evans, the head of Greenpeace’s UK oil campaign, simply called it a ‘colossal failure in climate leadership’.

    Climate activist Mikaela Loach shared: “This oil field would produce ten times the amount of emissions that Scotland does – it’d be absolutely catastrophic,” she shares. 

    Politician Lord Deben agreed, adding: “The justification for any new oil and gas exploration or production has to be very, very, very strong and I cannot say that I have so far seen any such evidence,” with doctor Katherine Trebeck, co-founder of the Wellbeing Econony Alliance, further adding that the oil field is ‘incompatible’ with the code red climate emergency and ‘must be opposed.’

    What can you do to #StopCambo? 

    In short, make some noise – share your thoughts on social, chat to your friends, discuss with work colleagues, or write to your MP. Do anything you can to spread the word and get the subject matter on people’s radars.

    “Stopping these things from being approved is one of the important things we can do,” shares Loach. “Get involved in the campaigns – it’s about more than just our lifestyle choices. Behavioural change – like changing what you eat and what you wear – is important, but how you use your time even more so.”

    For more helpful resources, head to the Stop Cambo LinkTree, where they’re issued loads of helpful resources on how to be an ally and show your support.

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