Watch: Nicola Sturgeon challenged by climate activists over Cambo oilfield

Nicola Sturgeon was challenged to oppose the Cambo North Sea oil field by young climate activists yesterday as she attended a carnival in Glasgow. 

Young campaigners from Green New Deal Rising and the Stop Cambo campaign who approached the First Minister said she was letting “big corporations profit from dirty energy.

If given the go-ahead, the Cambo site could yield as many as 255 million barrels of oil over its lifetime, according to environmental campaigners.

READ MORE: 80,000 tell Boris Johnson about ‘devastating’ new Shetland oil field after saying he hadn’t heard of it

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.

Ms Sturgeon was confronted in Queen’s Park at the Govanhill Carnival and asked if she will oppose the oil field.

She replied: “Look, I’m not going to stand here – it’s not an issue for the Scottish Government. We are thinking about all of these things, we are trying to come to the right decision. There’s no doubt we should be moving away.

“So there are hard questions to ask about whether things like that are commensurate and I totally get that. There are tough things for all of us to address and make decisions on.”

Told by the campaigner that she was disappointed the First Minister would not commit to opposing the oilfield, Ms Sturgeon said: “You can have a politician that says to you what you want to hear, because you are standing here, or you can have a politician that says I do hear what you say, and I’ve got a lot of sympathy with it but there’s issues as First Minister I’ve got to make sure that I properly consider.

“And that’s what I’m choosing to do.”

The Green New Deal Rising group – a movement of young people fighting to stop the climate crisis – later tweeted: “Big corporations profit from dirty energy and politicians like Nicola Sturgeon let them get away with it. We’re here to put a stop to that.”

Speaking after the incident, campaigner Lauren MacDonald, 20, who challenged Ms Sturgeon, said: “We are hosting Cop26 in my home city this year, yet Nicola Sturgeon and Boris Johnson both have taken nowhere near enough action to meet the commitments already set.

“The Scottish Government can’t call itself a climate leader without opposing the Cambo oil field. How can we trust our governments to tackle the climate crisis when time and time again they refuse to take meaningful action to mitigate its effects?”

She added: “I am genuinely terrified for my future. It makes me so frustrated that when I confront the leader of my country, she refuses to commit to taking action to safeguard the lives of her citizens.

READ MORE: COP26: Cambo oil and gas field contracts ‘cannot be torn up’ insists Boris Johnson

“If we have any hope of mitigating the climate crisis and seeing a fairer society in Scotland, we need a just transition out of oil and gas immediately. We need a Green New Deal now that delivers good green jobs.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman 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.”

She added: “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.”

The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992