NICOLA Sturgeon has been told to vehemently show her opposition to new fossil fuels development by coming out against a planned North Sea oil development three times bigger than the controversial Cambo plans.

New plans for the Rosebank oil field are set to become a new battleground between Holyrood and Westminster – with the Scottish and UK governments at odds over future fossil fuels projects.

The UK Government announced last week that more than 100 new oil and gas licences will be opened up in the North Sea next month – claiming it will improve energy security.

Energy Secretary, Jacob Rees-Mogg, said the UK will need to “explore all avenues available to us” to improve energy security, adding that “it’s right that we’ve lifted the pause to realise any potential sources of domestic gas”.

But SNP Net Zero Secretary, Michael Matheson, has warned “unlimited extraction of fossil fuels is not consistent with our climate obligations”.

He added: “It is not the right solution to the real cost-of-living crisis families are facing.

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"Instead of licensing more fossil fuel extraction, the UK Government should be encouraging investment in renewables and supporting a just transition for our energy sector, Scottish households and businesses.”

Rosebank, off the coast of Shetland will contain almost 500 million barrels of oil – three times larger than the neighbouring Cambo proposal, which the First Minister said should not go ahead.

Asked in May about the Cambo plans, Ms Sturgeon said all developments should be subject to a “stringent climate compatibility checkpoint” and should apply to all “fields that are already consented but are not yet in production”, like Cambo and Rosebank, and not just new licensing rounds.

Rosebank, being developed by Norwegian state-owned Equinor, is the UK’s largest undeveloped oil and gas field and would produce oil until 2051 – six years after Scotland has vowed to become net zero.

Burning Rosebank’s oil and gas would create more emissions than the combined annual emissions of all 28 low-income countries in the world, including Uganda, Ethiopia and Mozambique – more than the 700 million people in the world’s poorest countries create in a year.

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The UK Government’s new climate checkpoint, drawn up in partnership with the oil a d gas sector, has been heavily criticised by campaigners for being non-binding, excluding emissions from burning oil and gas and only applying to new licences issued.

Stop Rosebank campaigners argue that the government’s push for more domestic fossil fuel production will have little to no impact on energy prices, a view echoed by the now Chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, earlier this year.

The vast majority of Rosebank’s reserves are oil and, like 80% of all North Sea oil, it will most likely be exported overseas due to a lack of demand for crude oil in the UK.

Tessa Khan, director of Uplift, said: “The UK Government has shown today that, while it knows we can’t afford to develop new oil and gas fields if we want a liveable climate, it is prepared to abdicate all responsibility for doing anything about it.

“For Scotland’s climate targets to mean anything, Nicola Sturgeon must now provide the leadership we desperately need and oppose new fossil fuel developments, like the huge new Rosebank field.

“Allowing it to go ahead won’t lower people’s energy bills but will cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of pounds. We need politicians who are prepared to take the necessary and urgent action to prevent catastrophic climate change, which means saying no to huge new oil and gas developments like Rosebank.”

Friends of the Earth Scotland oil and gas campaigner, Freya Aitchison, said: “By opening up vast new fields and green-lighting the search for ever more fossil fuels, the UK Government is denying the reality of the climate emergency.

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“Across the world people are enduring the devastating climate impacts caused by the burning of fossil fuels such as hurricanes in Puerto Rico, record droughts driving mass hunger in Somalia and deadly heatwaves across Europe.

“With his track record of climate denial it should be extremely worrying for anyone concerned about a liveable planet that Jacob Rees-Mogg has been put in charge of the UK’s energy system at this critical moment.

“The Scottish Government must be willing to stand up to his reckless plans to expand fossil fuels and worsen this crisis.

“Last year when the First Minister spoke out in clear opposition to Cambo, joining MSPs from across Parliament who had already backed the campaign, it didn’t take long for Shell to withdraw their support and the development was subsequently paused.”