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XR activists demand government blocks development of North Sea oil field

A DOZEN Extinction Rebellion (XR) activists occupied the UK government’s offices in Edinburgh today to demand it block the development of an oil field in the North Sea.

The climate campaigners blocked the entrance to the Queen Elizabeth House building to protest against the plans for the Cambo oil field off Shetland. 

The Stop Cambo Scotland group wants Prime Minister Boris Johnson to halt the expected approval of the oil field just months before Glasgow hosts the United Nations Cop26 climate conference.

Mikaela Loach, a fourth-year medical student and climate activist, said: “Floods are ripping through Germany. Madagascans are starving and thirsty in a fierce drought.

“North Americans are dying in unprecedented deadly heatwaves and wildfires rage. And the Amazon is emitting more CO2 than it absorbs.

“In all this chaos, the UK government, host of the Cop26 UN climate negotiations, is happy to sign away 800 million barrels of oil just so a few shareholders can turn a profit.

“This is criminal: the Cambo oil field must be stopped.”

A 4pm rally due to take place outside the Scottish Parliament building was moved to continue the action at Queen Elizabeth House.

The group said the oil field, 80 miles north-west of the Shetland Islands, is 30 per cent owned by Shell and 70 per cent by private equity firm Siccar Point Energy.

In May, the International Energy Agency said that investments in new oil and gas projects and polluting coal-power plants must be halted to help tackle the climate crisis.

Neil Rothnie, a former oil worker and founding member of the North Sea workers’ union the Offshore Industry Liaison Committee, said: “I don’t believe that we can just keep on exploring for, and producing, all the planet’s oil and gas.

“My understanding of the science is that if we do that, climate change will destroy the planet as we know it, and much of the life it supports.

“I have young grandchildren. That destruction could be well advanced in their grandchildren’s lifetime.

“That scares the shit out of me.”

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said police were engaging with  the group of peaceful protesters as the Morning Star went to print.

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