Extinction Rebellion Scotland target North Sea Transition Authority

Yesterday Extinction Rebellion Scotland targeted the North Sea Transition Authority, who continue to issue new licenses for oil and gas development, and set-up a pink table at the STUC conference.

This is despite the International Energy Agency declaring that there must be no new fossil fuel development, [1] and the IPCC says we must cut global emissions by 43% by 2030.[2] 

Rebels made a performance protest using a green bath with NO GREENWASH written on it and executives throwing money around. 

XR Scotland also supported the unions at the STUC conference for a just transition. We stand in solidarity with any unions fighting for safe, secure and sustainable futures for their workers. Rebels set-up a pink table outside the conference to speak to delegates.

See STV coverage of the action at the STUC and the NSTA in Aberdeen. (starts 10:45 mins)

Even if all the policies to cut carbon that governments had put in place by the end of 2020 were fully implemented, the world will still warm by 3.2C this century. 

“Some government and business leaders are saying one thing – but doing another. Simply put, they are lying. And the results will be catastrophic.”

Antonio Guterres UN Secretary General 

Over the last 40 years big oil companies have lied about the impact of fossil fuels and orchestrated expensive lobbying campaigns against politicians to prevent actions that would have reduced global carbon emissions.[3] 

It is clear that our governments are not acting with the urgency that the situation demands and this lack of action will leave a dangerous and potentially catastrophic legacy for coming generations. 

Simon MacLardie, nurse and unison member said:

“The North Sea Transition Authority (formerly the Oil and Gas Authority) will say that we need to continue developing oil and gas extraction as it would mean lower emissions than importing fossil fuels from abroad. This may sound reasonable but what part of ‘climate emergency’ do they not understand? When the IEA declares that there must be no more fossil fuel extraction they are saying that we must stop it right now to safeguard our future. I’m not alarmist by nature but when the worlds’ scientists in the recent IPCC report state that we need to cut emissions by 43% by 2030 it is clear we must act now. This does not equate with the NSTA granting licenses for several new oil fields this year. Delusions of Carbon Capture and Storage still to be developed at some abstract point in the future are not going to save us. And neither is changing your name to the North Sea Transition Authority while still promoting oil and gas extraction.”

“I have no interests to declare (unlike some board members of the NSTA) [4] when I say that wind energy is by far the cheapest, fastest to engineer, and safest for the environment. There are already 649 planning permissions granted for onshore wind and solar in the UK. [5] An emergency demands sweeping change and this must include a monumental effort to insulate and retrofit our buildings. It is encouraging that the Scottish Government has committed £1.6 billion to insulating 1.5 million homes and buildings by 2030.”[6]

However, the SNP abstained from supporting the Offshore Training Passport scheme in a Bill which failed to pass earlier this year as a result. It would have saved the 94% of offshore workers who supported the scheme thousands in training fees to transition from fossil fuels to renewables. [7]

Gary Jack, surveyor and crofter, said 

“The UK government are trying to push fossil fuels on the back of energy security after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and on high energy costs for members of the public. These excuses can easily be dismissed as we only import 8% oil and 5% gas from Russia. The US has done a deal to provide Europe with more gas and as we are meant to be reducing our use of fossil fuels year on year by the time we actually stop using Russian gas, renewables will have filled this short fall. So there is no need for new oil and gas fields, and according to Nicola Sturgeon in a recent debate in the Scottish parliament it would be at least 2026 before any oil or gas would come on stream from new oil and gas projects.

Renewable energy costs are coming down drastically while fossil fuel prices are going up. The way energy prices are calculated needs to be changed to reflect the cheaper renewable energy costs in the UK.”


The unions were out in force at the climate march in Glasgow during COP26 along with 100,000 people calling for more action on tackling the climate emergency. Workers need to be in the driving seat pushing for change, rather than having it forced upon us. We want to build connections with trade unionists and discuss how the environmental movement can amplify and support union campaigns. Our XR Trade Unionist group has been created to do exactly that, and this is open to anybody in a union.

Finlay Asher, 31, an aeronautical engineer from XR Trade Unions commented:

“Extinction Rebellion are demanding an end to fossil fuels, and this will affect workers in all sectors of the economy. It’s vital that workers understand the rapid transition that is required and how this will affect jobs. There will be no just transition without the voice of workers. The only way workers can fight for a fair transition to Net Zero is by building union strength and the power of collective action. We stand in solidarity with any unions fighting for safe, secure and sustainable futures for their workers.”

“We need a rapid and radical transformation of our economy to move away from fossil fuel reliance. This means healthy, high quality, sustainable jobs across energy, transport, industry, agriculture, housing and social care. Employment opportunities are everywhere, and we can ensure these are well-paid, unionised jobs if we get in early to influence the direction of the transition.”


[1] https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/resources/iea-net-zero-2050/

[2] https://www.ipcc.ch/2022/04/04/ipcc-ar6-wgiii-pressrelease/

[3] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-60984663

[4] https://theferret.scot/oil-licensing-authority-leaders-shares/

[5] https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/mar/12/tories-russian-energy-cheap-green-insulating-homes-wind-solar-boris-johnson

[6] https://www.gov.scot/news/reaching-net-zero-1/

[7] https://foe.scot/press-release/mps-miss-barrier-transition/ https://www.nsenergybusiness.com/features/uk-oil-workers-training-costs/#

[8] https://dailybusinessgroup.co.uk/2020/01/libdems-demand-snp-pulls-support-for-heathrow-expansion/

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