REMOVING harmful emissions produced by plans to extend an oil field near Shetland would require an area of land one and a half times the size of Scotland, new analysis has revealed.

The Oxfam study adds further weight behind the case for the project by Shell and Siccar Point Energy to be rejected by UK ministers on climate grounds.

If approved by the Oil and Gas Authority, part of the UK Government, the Cambo oil field could produce up to 255 million barrels of oil over its lifetime – releasing an estimated 132 million tonnes of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere.

The International Energy Agency has warned that no new oil and gas fields should be developed if global warming is to be limited to 1.5C - a stance backed by the UK climate envoy, John Kerry.

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Oxfam is urging the UK Government to halt the oil field from proceeding, months before playing a crucial leadership role in hosting the COP26 global climate conference in Glasgow.

The charity is also urging the Scottish Government to condemn the plans.

But a Scottish Government spokesperson has told the Herald that it will not categorically oppose the plans, stating that any support for fossil fuel extraction “is conditional upon them contributing to a sustainable and inclusive energy transition”.

Oxfam’s new analysis coincides with a new global report published by the charity which estimates that land-hungry net zero schemes would need an areas equivalent to all farmland on earth to be forested, putting at risk global food security chains.

The Tightening the Net study warns that governments and corporations are hiding behind unreliable, unproven and unrealistic carbon removal schemes – such as carbon capture.

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The Scottish Government, which has a 2045 net zero aim, has devoted a large chunk of its strategy to cut emissions to carbon capture technology.

Experts at the Tyndall Centre have warned that carbon capture “progress has stalled in the UK due to slow movement on UK policy for CCS deployment”.

Crucially, the experts have stressed that “the large-scale deployment” of carbon capture as an option to meet climate targets “depends on the further development of the technology”.

But the Scottish Government is pushing ahead with the strategy, pointing to statutory advisers, the Climate Change Committee, warning targets cannot be met without using the technology.

Oxfam also found that the net-zero climate promises of four of the world’s largest oil and gas corporations – BP, Eni, Shell and Total Energies – could require them foresting an area of land equivalent to more than twice the size of the UK to achieve net zero by 2050.

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It adds that to remove the estimated 132 million tonnes of CO2 emissions produced by the Cambo oil field plans from the atmosphere, it would require an area of land the size of England or more than 1.5 times Scotland.

Jamie Livingstone, head of Oxfam Scotland, said: “All of our lives and futures depend on the world’s biggest polluters quickly, drastically and genuinely slashing their emissions, phasing out fossil fuels and investing in clean energy and supply chains.

“Instead, what we’re seeing is too many net zero strategies being used as smokescreens to mask dirty behaviour: promising unrealistic carbon removal schemes in order to justify the continued plundering of our planet.

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“The proposed new Cambo oil field is a clear climate contradiction. If the UK Government is to be a credible broker for a deal that can stop the planet overheating when it hosts the COP26 climate talks in November it must intervene in the Cambo case and stop its climate credibility going up in smoke.

“The Scottish Government has a duty to demand it does just that.”

A UK Government spokesperson said: "We are absolutely committed to meeting our world-leading climate commitments, having already slashed emissions by 44% over the past three decades, and will publish our net zero strategy later this year.

“In recent months alone, we’ve secured record investment in wind power, launched a new UK emissions trading scheme, committed to end coal power by 2024, pledged £1 billion in funding to support the development of carbon capture, and invested £2 billion to support the decarbonisation of transport.

“While we are working hard to drive down demand for fossil fuels, there will continue to be ongoing demand for oil and gas over the coming years, as recognised by the independent Climate Change Committee.”