by Iain Bruce
The announcement that private equity-backed Siccar Point Energy has “paused” its plans for the Cambo oilfield is great news for all of us in Scotland.
It gives hope to everyone concerned about the climate crisis and the future of the planet.
As Friends of the Earth Scotland said when Shell pulled out of the project a week earlier: “People power has made the climate-wrecking Cambo development so toxic that even oil giant Shell doesn’t want to be associated with it any more“.
This is a victory for the huge demos in Glasgow during the COP in November. They may not have swayed Shell on their own, but they obviously helped to change Nicola Sturgeon’s mind. Three days after the end of the UN climate summit, the First Minister finally came out against Cambo. Days later Shell withdrew from its 30 percent stake in the planned oilfield, 1000 metres below the surface in the North Sea west of Shetland.
COP26 may have been an abject failure, in terms of what the governments inside the Blue Zone decided. But over 100,000 people on the streets outside can have an impact. The suspension of Cambo shows that.
Now we have to build on that. We need to push not just for a halt to all new fossil fuel projects. We need a complete decommissioning of the North Sea oil and gas industry within this decade. And that needs to be led by the workers and the communities most affected, with serious investment in good, green, unionised jobs for all.
For that we certainly need to bend the ears of the SNP government, which remains wedded to the false narrative of “net zero”, in their case by 2045.
But above all we need independence, with socialist values.
As the banner at the head of the Independence Bloc on 6 November said, “It’s Scotland’s Oil, Leave It in the Soil”.