Climate campaigners have said that Nicola Sturgeon is avoiding ‘giving a straight answer’ on the controversial Rosebank oil field. 

The First Minister was filmed as she was confronted by a young climate activist at COP27 in Egypt who asked for her views on the huge new oil field under consideration by the UK Government. The First Minister initially tried to avoid the direct question on Rosebank before referring to previous general statements on oil and gas. 

Climate activists are calling on the First Minister to explicitly oppose the Rosebank field as she did with the Cambo oil field in late 2021. That intervention, after months of public pressure, was seen as crucial in leading to oil giant Shell pausing the project. 

Last week, campaigners delivered ‘oily roses’ to the First Minister’s residence of Bute House amongst other locations in Edinburgh and Glasgow which are linked to the Rosebank field developer Equinor. 

Wiktoria Jędroszkowiak, Fridays For Future Eastern Europe, who recorded the video commented,

“When I spoke to Scotland’s First Minister, she did not give me a straight answer on her position on the Rosebank field. I know how important it is for political leaders to do everything they can to stop new fossil fuels like this from going ahead. The development may be off the coast of Scotland but new oil and gas is simply pouring fuel on the fire of the climate crisis which is already causing massive harm around the world, and further threatening young peoples’ future.” 

Rosebank contains over 500 million barrels of oil, which if burned would produce the equivalent CO2 emissions of 28 low-income countries combined. Ahead of the COP27 climate talks, the UN warned that the world was on course for a catastrophic 2.8C of climate warming by the end of this century. 

Analysis has shown that developing the Rosebank field will cost UK taxpayers over £100 million, due to a deliberate loophole in the UK Government’s windfall tax. Equinor recently declared profits of £21 billion for the third quarter of 2022.

Friends of the Earth Scotland’s head of campaigns Mary Church said:

“When Nicola Sturgeon set a precedent and spoke out against Cambo last year, it helped demonstrate to oil companies that their climate-wrecking plans were unacceptable. It is vitally important that the First Minister is explicit in her opposition to the Rosebank field which is significantly larger than Cambo.

“The First Minister is fully aware that Equinor’s plans to develop the massive Rosebank oil field fly in the face of climate science and will do nothing to alleviate the cost of living crisis. The oil in Rosebank will be exported and sold on the open market, further inflating Equinor’s massive profits while keeping us locked into volatile fossil fuels.

“The go-ahead for new oil and gas projects lies with the UK Government, but it is clear that the Scottish Government has the power and the duty to influence this process. We call on the First Minster to turn the rhetoric of climate leadership into action by taking a firm stance against new fossil fuels, setting an end date for oil and gas within this decade and urgently prioritising a just transition to renewables.”

Notes to Editors

Video from 7/11/22 is available at: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1dkbnedzfbzGWcBmBuuDULK44gDbwVlWN?usp=sharing

Stop Rosebank campaign briefing: https://www.stopcambo.org.uk/updates/what-is-the-rosebank-oil-field

Phase 1 of the controversial Cambo field was 170 million barrels of oil https://www.siccarpointenergy.co.uk/our-portfolio/corona-ridge-area

Rosebank will cost UK taxpayers over £100 million: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/oct/30/britain-faces-100m-loss-over-drilling-at-biggest-new-oil-field-says-research

Equinor Q3 2022 £21billion profit announcement: https://www.equinor.com/news/equinor-third-quarter-2022

Oily roses against Rosebank action https://foe.scot/press-release/oily-roses-used-to-expose-toxic-relationships-around-rosebank-oil-field/

Friends of the Earth Scotland is:
* Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 73 national member groups, and 5,000 local activist groups.