The #StopRosebank And #StopCambo Campaigns

by Olivia Draycott

What is #StopRosebank and Why Does It Matter?

The Stop Rosebank campaign is focused on an area of the North Sea, Rosebank, which is the largest undeveloped oil and gas field in the North Sea [1]. An application has been submitted for UK governments approval to start developing the field [1]. This is despite prior successful climate campaigns notably the ‘Stop Cambo’ campaign in Scotland which resulted in a halt on developments of oil fields in the North Sea due to the severe environmental consequences that would occur as a result of the development. Rosebank, if approved, due to its size which dwarves Cambo in comparison [3], would emit more carbon dioxide (through burning oil and gas) than the combined emissions of all 28 low-income countries in the world, including Uganda, Ethiopia and Mozambique [4]. Furthermore, not only is there a significant environmental cost, there is an economical one; whilst the development proposes to invest £6.3bn in the UK [5], the financing of such development will fall to the public in the United Kingdom [6]. This is due to a new subsidy introduced by the UK government [7], ‘which means that the public would effectively hand over more than half a billion pounds to Rosebank’s owners to develop the field’ [6]. Consequently, public opinion is against this development and the Stop Rosebank campaign is becoming ever more present. 

The Rosebank Campaign has similarities with the previous Stop Cambo Campaign, which demonstrated the public’s ability to come together to prevent oil field developments in the North Sea, ensuring sustainable decisions and a vigilant safeguarding of the global environment [8]. After launching a legal challenge, the UK government announced that it had the powers to stop plans to develop the Cambo oilfield on the basis that it was “in the public interest” which was the first time the UK government had ever made such an announcement [9]. This was despite the government previously stating in 2001 that they could not intervene in such developments [9]. This shift in legal dynamics opens the door to future endeavors like Rosebank facing increased scrutiny based on the principles of public well-being, safety, and environmental health. If a precedent were to be established, future developments such as Rosebank would not be permitted to be developed under UK Law on the basis of legitimate public concerns in the health, safety, and well-being of both people and the environment.

What Lies Ahead If #StopRosebank Succeeds?

If the #StopRosebank campaign succeeds, it could encourage a new era of rapid and radical action within the UK climate movement. This is due to the significant public precedent established by the #StopCambo campaign, which demonstrated the considerable influence that public pressure can have in shaping governmental decisions concerning new oil and gas projects in the UK [9]. The #StopRosebank campaign is made up of a diverse array of individuals, campaign groups, activists, and organizations such as Greenpeace, spanning the UK and even beyond [8]. All of whom are united by a shared commitment to cease all new oil and gas extraction and curtail existing production to align with safe climate parameters now and for future generations [8].

Emerging in the wake of the successful campaign against the Cambo oil field, the Rosebank campaign aims to extend the climate activist success. By steadfastly opposing the development of the Rosebank oil field, campaigners and activists are transmitting a clear message: the UK must clearly reject all new fossil fuel ventures and undertake a resolute transition towards renewable energy sources. This stance taken by the campaigns has encouraged engagement in the movement, compelling the government to enact more active measures to address the pressing climate crisis—an issue that they have regrettably not yet adequately tackled [3]. The lack of equity within proposed developments in the North Sea for Rosebank is another area that campaigners are stating cannot be overlooked; not only does the petrochemical industry, which the proposed oil fields are funded by, contribute to environmental degradation, but the industry disproportionately affects marginalized communities who bear the brunt of its adverse social, environmental and economic impacts. Consequently, the #StopRosebank campaign reframes the conversation, emphasizing the need for energy solutions that prioritize justice and equity, something that if successful can set public precedent that demands government action against environmentally damaging developments in the future. 

[1] Rosebank Field Development – GOV.UK. [online]. Available at: 
[2] Stop Cambo: Meet The Climate Activists Trying To Block Scotland’s New Oilfield, HuffPost UK Life. [online]. Available at: 
[3] Shetland Rosebank oil field twice size of Cambo would be ‘environmental disaster,’ Greens warn, STV News. [online]. Available at: 
[4] CO2 emissions (kt), Data. [online]. Available at: 
[5] Rosebank projected to provide £6.3 billion of investment to the UK – Equinor. [online]. Available at:
[6] What is the Rosebank oil field? – #StopRosebank. [online]. Available at: 
[7] What is the windfall tax on oil and gas companies and how much do they pay? – BBC News. [online]. Available at: 
[8] The movement behind #StopCambo. [online]. Available at: 
[9] Cambo: UK Government admits it does have power to stop plans to develop oilfield. [online]. Available at:

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