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Getting cosy with the fossil fuel industry while the Earth is on fire? It is time to #StopCambo

Illustration by Natasha Phang-Lee @npl_illustration

We are in a climate and ecological crisis. It’s impossible to ignore the recent disastrous weather events we have been experiencing, which include extreme flooding, dangerous heat waves and critical wildfires. All of these are linked to rising global temperatures, and have once again highlighted to us in the Global North (because those living in the most affected areas already knew this harsh reality) that the climate crisis is already here, and we are not equipped to deal with it.

Now is the time for climate action in line with 1.5℃ targets outlined in the Paris Agreement, and policies that account for justice and global equity. So, how is the UK government going to deal with the crisis ahead of the crucial COP26 talks in Glasgow this year? They’re about to approve a new oil and gas project introduced by Shell and Siccar Point Energy. 

Illustration by Natasha Phang-Lee @npl_illustration

The Cambo field is the second largest oil and gas development waiting for approval, and if it gets the green light, it will be the first UK project to be approved since the International Energy Agency Net Zero report called for no new investment in oil and gas earlier this year. The impacts of opening this field would be devastating. In the first phase, due to start in 2025, the companies expect to extract up to 170 million barrels of oil – the emissions equivalent to 18 coal-fired power plants running for a year. It is anticipated to begin operating in 2050, the point by which Britain has pledged to be net carbon neutral. So not only does it go directly against the 1.5°C target in the Paris Agreement, it also contradicts the UK’s own climate targets. 

So was that talk of a ‘green revolution’ simply for show? To play the political game without taking any concrete action? 

When we take a closer look at the climate criminals that want this approved, Shell and Siccar Point Energy, it again highlights the corrupt nature of supporting fossil fuel giants in their deliberate environmental destruction for the sake of profit. Shell has known about climate change and their role in environmental destruction since the 1980s. They published an internal report stipulating that climate change would make the world inhabitable, yet driven by their greed and desire for profit, they have continued to actively fuel the crisis.  

Shell has a long and continuing history of enacting violent colonial practices in their extraction of oil and gas. They are complicit in human rights abuses, in murder, in poisoning waters, in village massacres, in violence against frontline communities – and in attempting to hide it. This is the epitome of colonialism and capitalism in action, with the human and environmental destruction it causes. 

What is their money worth with blood on their hands? What will their money be worth in the face of civilisational breakdown? This violence must end.


This is where we come in.

Activists have come together to rise up in a campaign to #StopCambo. The #StopCambo campaign has launched, taking both online and offline action. I have been part of the digital launch, as well as the first action within the Fossil Free London group. Our first protest was a visual and theatrical one in front of the Shell HQ, depicting Boris Johnson as Sandrop Botticelli’s “The birth of Venus”, with activists representing Shell and Siccar Point Energy pouring ‘oil’ onto him.  

In Scotland, activists held an occupation of the U.K Government building in Edinburgh, calling out the destruction that the new oil field will cause, and making it heard loud and clear that we will not let this happen. These actions to stop Cambo are not only part of the wider global climate movement, but this is a revolutionary moment of dismantling the fossil fuel industry. Earlier this year we saw a day of reckoning for fossil fuel giants; a Dutch court ordered Shell to cut their emissions from its oil and gas by 45% by 2030, a small activist investor group won places on ExxonMobil’s board, and Chevron’s management faced defeat as investors voted to cut its carbon emissions. 

Here in the UK, it is our turn to fight back against these criminal enterprises. In a climate and ecological emergency where the race to safeguard our future has already begun; our government is now set to approve a new oil and gas licence just months before the UN COP26 climate talks. Approving a massive new oil field before these crucial climate talks clearly shows that the UK government is not serious about climate action. Now is the time for a just transition, not new funding for oil and gas projects. The Cambo Field will bring few jobs, and potentially cost the public huge amounts of money, instead of this going towards a new green deal that will decarbonise while benefiting people and workers.  

We have no time for new oil and gas projects. I will keep fighting to #StopCambo, but we need your help too! People are dying, seas are rising, air is polluted, water is poisoned – we are running out of time. We need you. It is not too late to join the climate movement, and now is the time to mobilise and apply pressure. Never underestimate the power of the people, and what you have to contribute. There is not just one type of activist, this movement is all one massive puzzle and we fit into different pieces with our varying skills, knowledge, and experience. 


To help #StopCambo you can: 

–      Follow @stopcambo on Instagram and keep updated with how you can take action.

–      Join your local climate activist group and organise actions together with the wider campaign. Groups such as Fossil Free London are currently looking for more people to join, those who have never campaigned before included!

–      Sign The Open Letter Calling for Boris Johnson To #StopCambo: here if you live in Scotland (or outside the UK), and if you live in the rest of the UK, use this link

–      Write a letter to your MP! Find your MP on this site https://www.writetothem.com/and ask them to call on Boris Johnson to #StopCambo



There is also currently a court case against the UK government for propping up the oil and gas industry with billions of the public’s purse. Check out Paid to Pollute who are fighting this case! 

To join the general climate movement you can join a local activist group or environmental organisation, support campaigns physically and digitally, show up to protests or share resources online. One action, one idea can create a ripple of change. Anything counts – join us!

Illustration by Natasha Phang-Lee @npl_illustration


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