“Humanity has opened the gates to hell”: but Rosebank Oil Field Goes Head Amid #ClimateEmergency

by Fiona Grahame

Scottish independence: Sir Ian Wood issues warning over oil predictions – BBC News 20th August 2014

Rosebank oil field will boost energy security – Rishi Sunak – BBC News 29th September 2023

Just 9 years apart, but strangely oil reserves in Scotland’s waters have suddenly become a valuable resource which in 2014 were thought to be of limited value to a nation of 5.5million people when a referendum was taking place to determine whether or not the citizens would opt to become an independent nation and chart their own course apart from the UK.

The first headline, issued during the Scottish Independence referendum in 2014, was taken from the views of Sir Ian Wood, considered to be an expert in the Oil Industry and who had published the UK Government’s Wood Report. The report was used to discredit claims that Scotland would have a viable economy if no longer part of the UK.

The second headline follows the go ahead by the UK Regulator to commence operations West of Shetland at  Rosebank, estimated to contain up to 300 million barrels of oil.

This policy of oil extraction flies in the face of the UK’s commitments to address the Climate Emergency and fatally undermines the work the Scottish Government has been doing to move away from fossil fuels and the massive potential. Scotland has in developing its Renewable Energy sector. .

Last week the Scottish and Welsh Governments wrote to the UK Government for an urgent summit chaired by the independent Climate Change Committee.

In a statement on 20th September, 2023, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:

“I’m announcing today that we’re going to ease the transition to electric vehicles. You’ll still be able to buy petrol and diesel cars and vans until 2035. Even after that, you’ll still be able to buy and sell them second-hand.

“I’m announcing today that we will give people far more time to make the necessary transition to heat pumps.

“And nor will we ban new oil and gas in the North Sea which would simply leave us reliant on expensive, imported energy from foreign dictators like Putin.

“We’re lifting the ban on onshore wind. We’re investing in four new clusters to capture and store carbon from the atmosphere. And we’re building new nuclear power stations for the first time in thirty years.

“This country is proud to be a world leader in reaching Net Zero by 2050.”

The letter from both the Welsh and Scottish Governments expressed their disappointment to the Prime Minister’s statement announcing that the UK Government is significantly changing course on key net zero commitments. The letter states:

The Rosebank Oil Field was granted consent for the development of the field on 27 September by The North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) just days later. It will be developed by Equinor and Ithaca Energy.

The field will be developed with subsea wells tied back to a redeployed Floating Production Storage and Offloading vessel (FPSO), with start-up planned in 2026-2027. Oil will be transported to refineries by shuttle tankers, while gas will be exported through the West of Shetland Pipeline system to mainland Scotland.

Meanwhile on 20th of September 2023, on the same day that the UK Prime Minister rolled back on his government’s commitments, UN  Secretary-General António Guterres issued a stark warning about the dire consequences of inaction in his impassioned address on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly to politicians, business, activists and civil society leaders.

With extreme weather events accelerating, “humanity has opened the gates to hell,” said the Secretary-General, describing distressing scenes of farmers helplessly watching crops washed away by floods, the emergence of virulent disease due to rising temperatures, and the mass exodus of people fleeing historic wildfires.

“We can still build a world of clear air, green jobs, and affordable clean power for all.”

The Secretary-General spoke of the need for more climate justice, recognizing the anger felt by many of the world’s poorest nations disproportionately affected by a crisis they did not cause. 

“Many of the poorest nations have every right to be angry,” he added, explaining that promised finance had not materialized while the costs of borrowing remain sky-high. 

“All parties must operationalize the Loss and Damage Fund at COP28,” he urged and reminded the developed countries must meet the $100 billion commitment, replenish the Green Climate Fund, and double adaptation funding.

Creating early warning systems for everyone by 2027 is a must, too. 

Days later 24th of September 2023 60,000 advocates, artists, influencers and concerned citizens were in New York’s iconic Central Park where they heard the deputy UN chief issue a clarion call to mobilize for change.

Amina Mohammed, highlighted the race to reach the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), end the climate crisis, and push for real gender equality.

The Deputy Secretary-General acknowledged that many around the world are hurting both in “mind and body”, with wars raging, and the planet not just warming – but boiling.

“Leaders are really struggling to use their power to keep the promises of the Global Goals and they risk breaking that promise to billions of people”, she said.

The good news is with seven years remaining to 2030, the game can still be won in the second half, but “we can’t win unless we stop our world from heating up.”

Scotland made a choice in 2014 when 55% of the voters opted to remain in the UK but did they really think that we would be following the disastrous course that we are now on? Taken out of the European Union despite having voted to remain in it with the massive loss of funding and opportunities that the world’s largest free trade area provided. The appalling rhetoric emanating from the UK Home secretary Suella Braverman attacking the UN’s convention for protecting refugees. An internationally agreed definition which has saved millions of lives. And now this turn around on strategies which were part of our international climate change pledges.

On this International Day of Non-Violence and the birth date of Mahatma Ghandi a quote from him comes to mind because it does not have to be this way. All of these politicians leading us down this path of climate disaster and intolerance towards others are elected by us and next year, 2024 is a General Election year.

a giant eye with the word Viewpoint at the top

4 replies »

  1. The gates to hell have been open for a long time… and instead of trying to slowly close them, it seems there are vested interests (of certain groups… let’s call them diplomatically “stakeholders”) to throw them even more wide open.
    The excuse that a transition takes time does not hold water. That transition should have started long ago and it should have been almost finished by now.
    Everybody can easily check this. For example on Google Scholar, just use the keywords “transition” and “fossil fuels” and check out scientific publications between 1965 and 1980.
    Whilst at the time renewables were not as developed as they are now, the dangers of fossil fuels were already mostly acknowledged. Hence, the need for a transition was already evident.
    Now in 2023, renewables are quite developed, and we have also realised that even they come with several associated downsides (from mining to disposal of components, from social and environmental effects on people elsewhere to accessibility and affordability issues closer to home, from impacts on terrestrial and marine life to degradation of habitats and so forth) which need to be carefully managed.
    Putting simultaneously the brakes onto our consumption to reduce the “hunger” for energy, is a vital part of management. It is clear that this conflicts with “growing the economy” because “the economy” thrives when people consume….

    Without this reduction in consumption, transition is an empty word… even more hollowed out if it is just used as an excuse for business as usual.
    And I am not talking about essentials of consumption such as heating or food, where compromises might be justified. Much of the energy is used to produce stuff nobody of sound mind would consider essential…

    I read this letter in the ShetNews today (https://www.shetnews.co.uk/2023/10/02/the-clock-is-ticking/) and the contributor’s true words say it all: ‘…this locust swarm human population is already stripping the planet bare and trashing much of the rest.’

    Locusts… do we really want to be nothing more than a plague?

  2. In 2013 the SNP published a white paper, “Scotland’s Future”. This door stopper of a wish list set out their proposed economic master plan for an independent Scotland based on extracting as much oil from the North Sea as possible.
    That model has now been binned as a recipe for global disaster. It doesn’t fill one with any confidence in plan two, the green, renewable bonanza.

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