A proposal is being pushed by Shell Oil and Siccar Point Energy to develop a large new oil field off the coast of the Shetland Isles. The government has not signalled its objection to the plan. The International Energy Agency (IEA) released a report stating that to reach net-zero fossil fuel emissions by 2050, policymakers must end all new investments in oil, gas, and coal extraction.
Friends of the Earth Scotland called the possible approval of the Cambo oil field project "completely indefensible" and said it "would further damage the U.K.’s credibility on climate action ahead of the U.N. climate conference COP26 later this year."
"It is an obscenity that these plans are being progressed just months before the UN climate talks are due to take place in Glasgow," said Caroline Rance, for Friends of the Earth (FOE) Scotland.
Producing and burning the 800 million barrels in this field would be equivalent to 10 times Scotland’s annual climate emissions.
In its first phase, the project would extract 150 million barrels—" as polluting as running 16 coal-fired power stations for a year," said FOE Scotland.
Rachel Kennerley, an international climate campaigner at FOE England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, said in a statement that "if ministers are serious about facing up to the climate crisis they must end their support for climate-wrecking fossil fuels at home and abroad."
Siccar and Shell aim to continue producing oil at Cambo until 2050. The government is not considering the Cambo oil field proposal in its "climate checkpoint," which determines whether new oil developments are compatible with climate goals, because the companies originally sought licensing in 2001 and 2004.