The Guardian view on North Sea oil: keep it in the ground | Editorial

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Does the decision by oil giant Royal Dutch Shell to pull out of the Cambo oilfield mark the end of oil and gas investment in the North Sea? For the planet’s sake, one would hope so. However, it may be more realistic to see Shell’s act as a first victory in a longer war to keep hydrocarbons in the ground. Campaigners say that there are dozens more offshore oil and gas fields coming up for approval in the next three years. To keep the climate safe and limit global temperature rises to 1.5C, none ought to go ahead. Oil majors have lost the battle for public opinion in Scotland and this has dramatically altered the calculations for the ruling Scottish National party, which for decades ran on oil. Without supportive politics, and with the science against them, oil majors – this time – bowed out.

Despite that, and despite brandishing its credentials as a climate champion at Cop26 in Glasgow last month, the UK government still wants extractive…

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