As world leaders meet in Doha for the latest round of climate talks, Scottish company Cairn Energy continues its Arctic gamble, taking advantage of retreating ice caps in its hunt for increasingly high risk fossil fuels.

Activists from Friends of the Earth Scotland gathered today (29 November) outside Cairn’s head office in Edinburgh, doing a ‘Cairnnam-style’ dance dressed as cowboys trying to lasso an iceberg.

Paul Daly, Corporate Accountability Campaigner at Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “Cairn needs to pull back from its Arctic commitments. We urgently need to wean ourselves off our addiction to fossil fuels, not take advantage of the effects of climate change to find oil in newly exposed areas.

“Cairn’s oil spill response plan was literally laughable. These ‘cowboys’ have some daft ideas about how they would clean up after a spill that demonstrated quite how little regard they have for the Arctic. Cairn should retreat before we have an Arctic calamity.”

Professor Wadhams of Cambridge University, who recently appeared on the BBC’s acclaimed ‘Life and Death of an Iceberg’, gave evidence to the UK government’s ‘Protecting the Arctic’ enquiry stating that Cairn Energy is a ‘cowboy operation’. Professor Wadhams highlighted that Cairn’s work is slapdash and dangerous – particularly given the sensitive, unique and unforgiving Arctic territory.

The enquiry concluded that there should be no Arctic drilling until there are much more stringent safety measures in place. Chair of the Committee, Joan Walley MP, said: “The infrastructure to mount a big clean-up operation is simply not in place and conventional oil spill response techniques have not been proven to work in such severe conditions.”


For high resolution pictures from the event and media enquiries, please contact: Per Fischer, Press Office, Friends of the Earth Scotland t: 0131 243 2719 e: pfischer@foe-scotland.org.uk

Notes to Editors

1. Corporate Accountability: Cairn Energy www.foe-scotland.org.uk/cairn

2. Reference Parliamentary Committee Report,www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environmental-audit-committee/news/announcement-of-report-publication1/

3. Professor Wadhams evidence to the Committee, calling Cairn ‘cowboys www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmselect/cmenvaud/c1739-ii/c1…

4. Arctic ice melting faster than predicted: www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-19508906 and effects of melting Arctic on UK and US weather: www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/12/arctic-ice-melt-extreme-weather_n_1878…

5. 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, 77 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups – covering every continent. www.foe-scotland.org.uk