Hundreds of attendees and performers at the Edinburgh festivals have signed a letter calling on First Minister Humza Yousaf to speak out against the controversial Rosebank oil field.

Activists spoke to visitors from around the world during the festival about the Scottish Government’s failure to clearly oppose the Rosebank field despite the climate harm it will cause.

The letter to Yousaf is signed by well known comedians such as Frankie Boyle, award nominee Julia Masli and Scottish actor Tam Dean Burn, as well as hundreds of visitors. The letter says “the time for sitting on the fence is long past” and his failure to speak out risks “becoming a tacit approval for these projects.”

There is a growing cross-party consensus that the Rosebank project should not go ahead, with Nicola Sturgeon, UK Labour, the Scottish Greens and the Chair of official advisors at the UK Committee on Climate Change all speaking out against the development. When the Scottish Government finally publicly opposed the Cambo oil field in 2021, Shell paused it soon afterwards.

Campaigners believe that the Scottish Government’s opposition would put further pressure on the UK Government to reject the application to drill the field. The First Minister has stated that he is “not convinced” that the Rosebank project should be given the green light, but he has not yet opposed the project outright.

Scottish actor Tam Dean Burn who performed in the immersive theatre show “Revelations of Rab McVie” commented,

“As well as hosting the fringe, Scotland is home to a massively polluting North Sea oil and gas industry so what happens with that matters to all of us. The eyes of the world are on Scotland to see how it can safely and swiftly transition to an energy system powered by renewables instead. More fossil fuels anywhere are taking us all in the wrong direction. “

Julia Masli is an Estonian-born, UK based clown who was nominated for the Edinburgh Comedy Award this year for her show ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha where she solves the audience’s problems. She said
“This is a big problem that requires immediate solution.”

Friends of the Earth Scotland’s oil and gas campaigner Freya Aitchison said:

“People come to Edinburgh from all over the world to perform at and attend the Fringe, and from the outside it looks like Scotland is a green and forward-thinking place. From hundreds of conversations in the streets last month, it’s clear that people are frustrated that in reality the Scottish Government doesn’t always live up to this reputation.

“The Scottish Government needs to get off the fence and oppose the climate disaster that is the Rosebank oil field. For too long, they have been dodging the issue and it is time the First Minister gave a clear answer to those asking whether he thinks the development should go ahead”.

“Approving new fossil fuel projects will do nothing to lower energy prices, meanwhile burning oil and gas is fuelling the extreme weather we see on every continent which is killing people and destroying lives. Every oil and gas development approved now takes us further away from a fair and fast transition to renewable energy.“

Rosebank is the biggest undeveloped oil field in UK waters containing an estimated 500 million barrels of oil. Burning this oil will produce more climate pollution than dozens of countries do each year. Its developer, the Norwegian oil giant Equinor, is set to receive a tax break of £3.75 billion from the UK Government if the Rosebank project gets the green light.

Over 500 people signed the open letter to Humza Yousaf which can be read at https://act.foe.scot/letter-humza-yousaf-action-closed

Photographs of performers supporting the campaign here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1x6K_C8V97nLwNzbnPO78zBVYV4HiOWBK?usp=share_link

Rosebank is the biggest undeveloped oil field in the North Sea and if all the oil and gas contained within it is burned it will produce the equivalent CO2 emissions of the annual emissions of 28 low income countries.

Equinor are in line for £3.75 billion tax break for developing the field https://www.stopcambo.org.uk/updates/uk-set-to-make-a-huge-loss-if-rosebank-is-approved

Along with a 130,000 person strong petition opposing the development, the project has faced sustained criticism from climate campaigners, across the political spectrum and from academics and climate scientists.

Humza Yousaf ‘not convinced’ Rosebank should go ahead: https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/humza-yousaf-not-convinced-controversial-30781859

Nicola Sturgeon spoke out against Rosebank in early August – Glasgow Times

UKCCC Chair Lord Deben’s climate call – The National https://www.thenational.scot/news/23659760.lord-deben-europe-heatwave-wake-up-call-climate-change/

Julia Masli’s show ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Tam Dean Burn’s show

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.