Friends of the Earth Scotland Press Release


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Activists from Friends of the Earth Scotland gathered today (16 May) outside Cairn Energy’s AGM in Edinburgh, dressed as cowboys to highlight the company’s bizarre oil spill plan.

Cairn has announced its intention to return to the Arctic in 2014 having taken a break to secure finance for its exploration activities. The Scottish company is known for its strategy of going after high-risk marginal oil.

Paul Daly, Corporate Accountability Campaigner at Friends of the Earth Scotland, said:

“Cairn is utterly cavalier in its pursuit of Arctic oil, taking advantage of melting ice caps in its hunt for increasingly high risk fossil fuels.

“We urgently need to kick our addiction to fossil fuels to avoid disastrous climate change, not take advantage of its impacts to find and burn ever more oil.”

Cairn Energy intend to drill deeper than the depths drilled from the Deepwater Horizon platform in the Gulf of Mexico. The consequences of an accident on a scale of Deepwater Horizon in the Arctic would be even more disastrous with harsh conditions hampering clean up operations.  Total became the first big oil company to rule out Arctic oil drilling as just too risky in September last year.

Daly added:

“Cairn’s oil spill response plan is laughable, and was dismissed as woefully inadequate by a recent parliamentary inquiry. 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 abandon their crazy Arctic plans.”


For media enquiries please contact:
Per Fischer, Press Office, Friends of the Earth Scotland
t: 0131 243 2715
e: rdixon@foe-scotland.org.uk

Notes to Editors

1. A Parliamentary inquiry by the Environmental Audit Committee on ‘Protecting the Arctic’ 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.” See: www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/envi…

2. Professor Wadhams of Cambridge University, who recently appeared on the BBC’s acclaimed ‘Life and Death of an Iceberg’, gave evidence to the Parliamentary inquiry 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. See: www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmselect/cmenvaud/c1739-ii/c1

3. 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

4. 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