Hundreds of climate activists will flock to Aberdeen this month to combat “mass polluters” as part of a climate camp.
Organisers said a “rally and mass action” targeting major polluters in the city will cap the five-day event kicking off next week.
Protestors from across Scotland will be in place from 28 July until 1 August as part of the action in Europe’s oil capital.
Organisers said it follows the UK Government’s approval of the Shell Jackdaw gas field in the North Sea, as well as the licence extension of the Cambo oilfield in the West of Shetland, operated by Ithaca Energy.
It also comes as Aberdeenshire Council prepares to decide on proposals for a new gas-fired power station at Peterhead, though this will be equipped with carbon capture technology.
Campaigners said they are calling for a Just Transition away from oil and gas that is led by workers and communities.
Benji Brown from Climate Camp Scotland said: “As Britain bakes under record temperatures and wildfires scorch Europe, the UK government is encouraging oil companies to drill every last drop from the North Sea.
“Their so-called ‘energy transition’ relies on fantasy technologies like hydrogen and carbon capture, which allow the same big polluters who caused the climate crisis to maintain a stranglehold over our energy system.
“We need to tackle the climate and cost-of-living crisis through a switch to cheap and abundant renewables, ensuring the needs of communities and workers are prioritised over corporate profits.”
St Fitticks – ETZ
They criticised Aberdeen’s proposed ‘Energy Transition Zone – a not-for-profit firm chaired by Sir Ian Wood – “for sacrificing St Fittick’s park, one of local residents’ only green spaces, to industrial development”.
ETZ Ltd said it recognises the “strength of sentiment” and the importance for a green public space – and has “already confirmed” that the East Tullos Burn will be retained.
The group added that it has committed to a “comprehensive green network that would ensure no overall net-loss in envrionmental capacity in the zone”.
“This means that any land that is required for the development would be offset by delivering new high-quality greenspace and enhancing existing greenspace within the masterplan area,” a spokesperson said.
“ETZ Ltd is not-for-profit organisation operating on the basis of no commercial gain and with one over-riding goal; to protect and create as many jobs as possible ensuring a sustainable and vibrant future for the North East and the people who live and work here.
“We want to harness the skills and experience of the oil and gas industry and put it towards a world leading hub for renewables energies creating a long term and sustainable industry base that allows the North-East to re-position itself as the net zero energy capital of Europe.”
But Ishbel Shand of Friends of St Fittick’s Park said the space is “threatened by the cynical business types,using the climate crisis as an excuse for another profitable land-grab”.
She added: “We need to stop this continual exploitation of people and the planet for corporate profits.
“We need to make this “energy transition” a just transition, not a repeat of the injustices of the past.
“Activist groups like Climate Camp Scotland will be the agents of change. Let’s welcome them to Aberdeen.”
The organisers also criticised Aberdeen City Council’s partnership with BP on a proposed hydrogen hub for the city. BP had no comment.
The local authority said: “Aberdeen is proud of its role as an international energy hub and the Council is proud of the relationship it has built over many years with the sector. The Net Zero agreement signed with BP in 2020 is promoting the development of green technologies and positioning Aberdeen as a climate positive city.”
But Quân Nguyễn from Climate Camp Scotland said: “Neither the UK nor the Scottish government have a plan to phase out oil and gas at all, nevermind in a way that protects workers and communities currently depending on the industry.
“Instead, Aberdeen City Council partners with climate criminals like BP for their net-zero strategy, and threatens to take away St Fittick’s Park from the Torry community to hand it to the fossil fuel industry.
“Taking away green space from communities in Aberdeen is bad enough, but using it for a greenwashing exercise only benefitting fossil fuel companies adds insult to injury.
“This is why we need to stand side by side with communities and workers in Aberdeen, to challenge council, governments and corporations and fight for climate justice.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said it was “committed to supporting Scotland’s just transition to net zero by 2045” and it was vital that as “we transition our society and economy towards a low-carbon future, no individual, community or region is left behind”.
“We are currently undertaking an extensive programme of engagement to ensure that our joint Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan, due to be published later this year, takes into consideration the views of those most likely to be impacted by the transition,” the spokesman said.
“We are already investing in the oil and gas sector’s transformation. In addition to our expanded, £75 million Energy Transition Fund and £100 million Green Jobs Fund, our £500 million Just Transition Fund, which we have called on the UK Government multiple times to match, will support the north east and Moray become one of Scotland’s centres of excellence for the transition to a net-zero economy, with our investment supporting transformation across the region.
“We are, meanwhile, undertaking analysis work to better understand Scotland’s energy requirements as we transition to net zero, ensuring an approach that supports and protects our energy security and our highly skilled workforce whilst meeting our climate obligations.
“Our position is clear that unlimited extraction of fossil fuels is not consistent with our climate obligations, and we have consistently called on the UK Government to urgently re-assess all approved oil licences where drilling has not yet commenced against our climate commitments.”