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BP Fortnight of Shame

March 12, 2010

Take action to keep BP out of the tar sands – the single most destructive project on earth.

The BP Fortnight of Shame is a call to action from the UK Tar Sands Network, Rising Tide and the Camp for Climate Action to force BP to reverse their crazy plans to move into Canada’s tar sands.

It runs between the annual Fossil Fools day on April 1st, which in recent years has seen a flurry of action against the fossil fuels industry, and BP’s Annual General Meeting on April 15th.

Grassroots groups across the UK and around the world, will be taking action in solidarity with First Nations communities in Canada to stop BP’s deadly plans in their tracks.

Why Tar Sands?
Attempts to avert the planet from sliding into climate crisis are being threatened by a single massive project in the Canadian wilderness. Already, millions of barrels of tar sands oil are being extracted every day, producing three to five times as many greenhouse gas emissions as conventional oil. The extraction process is immensely resource-intensive, currently using enough natural gas every day to heat 3.2 million Canadian homes. Add to this the mass deforestation the projects are causing, ridding us of desperately needed carbon sinks, and it becomes clear this project cannot be allowed to continue if we are serious about preventing runaway climate change.

The effects tar sands are having on local First Nations communities are devastating. The tar sands development in Alberta covers an area the size of England, with toxic tailing ponds so huge they are visible from space, leaking poisons into the local water supply. Not only are indigenous livelihoods and futures being destroyed, but communities on land where tar sands extraction has been imposed are experiencing disturbingly high rates of rare forms of cancer and auto-immune diseases.

Why BP?
BP are the only major oil company with no tar sands extraction projects currently in operation. This is about to change. Since 2007, BP have quietly ditched the ‘Beyond Petroleum’ sham, because investing in renewables simply wasn’t making them enough profit. They have decided to go Back to Petroleum, with a vengeance, under the leadership of new Chief Executive Tony Hayward.

Moving into tar sands was one of the first steps Tony Hayward took, acquiring a half share in the Sunrise Project with Husky Energy. The Sunrise Project will be huge, producing 200,000 barrels of filthy oil a day, and using Steam-Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD), an extraction process even more energy and water intensive than the more visible surface-mining operations.

The recession has given us a window of opportunity. BP have been forced to postpone their final decision on whether to go ahead until the second half of 2010. This means it is not too late for us to stop this outrageous project. BP are desperate for Sunrise to go ahead, and will certainly not go down without a fight, but with effective and sustained action we can win this one.

What can I do?

From Brighton to Scotland, groups across the UK are already plotting for the Fortnight of Shame. If your local group isn’t already planning something, there’s still loads of times to pull off a fantastic action. If you aren’t part of local group, you could check out the list of local groups that form the Camp for Climate Action network. – or get together with your friends and get cracking!.

Need ideas or resources? Click here to join an online group set up to share resources and information that will come in handy for the two weeks of action.

The BP Fortnight of Shame is in solidarity with Canadian First Nations communities.

More info coming soon!!
Email tarsandsinfocus@googlemail.com

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Tar Sands Wedding!

March 4, 2010


Pictures from the recent Tar Sands Wedding in Leeds, where people were invited to celebrate the holy matrimony of BP and Climate Change.

BP should you be having second thoughts? Is Tar Sands really want you want to wake up to every morning?

Join us in the BP Fortnight of Shame as we send a message loud and clear to BP that we want out of the Tar Sands!

Take action to keep BP out of the single most destructive project on earth – The Alberta Tar Sands!

PLATFORM reveals RBS is UK bank most involved in financing tar sands and WDM announce a week of action!

March 3, 2010

A New PLATFORM report reveals RBS is UK bank most involved in financing loans to tar sands – http://bit.ly/9NJDOR

Tar sands extraction in Canada is devastating Indigenous communities, wildlife and vast areas of boreal forests, as well as being many times more carbon-intensive to produce than ‘conventional’ oil.

“We are seeing a terrifyingly high rate of cancer in Fort Chipewyan where I live. We are convinced that these cancers are linked to the Tar Sands development on our doorstep. It is shortening our lives. That’s why we no longer call it ‘dirty oil’ but ‘bloody oil’. The blood of Fort Chipewyan people is on these companies’ hands.” – George Poitras, former chief of Mikisew Cree First Nation

The higher oil prices in recent years have meant that it’s become a more attractive prospect for oil companies to expand their operations in the costly process of obtaining and processing the thick bitumen into a usable form. It’s estimated that the industry is looking for a capital investment of $120-$220 billion over the next 20 years to build the new pipelines, mines, refineries and upgraders that are necessary to sustain the boom.

This report looks at the role that UK banks are playing in providing the necessary capital, and how RBS, which is 84% owned by the UK public, has been the bank the most heavily involved in underwriting loans to companies engaging in tar sands extraction.

World Development Movement announced a week of protests to be held simultaneously with the RBS AGM on Wednesday 28 April. This will involve protests outside the AGM centre in Edinburgh and RBS branches across the UK. We and oher organisations will be calling for a moratorium on RBS investments in tar sands because of their devastating impact on human rights and the climate.

http://www.wdm.org.uk/rbs-protests-announced-over-contraversial-tar-sands-investments

The Tar Sands Oilympics

February 28, 2010

In response to a call-out from our Canadian friends for solidarity actions during the launch of the Vancouver Winter Olympics, last Saturday a group of about 30 members of the newly-formed London Tar Sands Group gathered in Trafalgar Square.

In the shadow of a giant screen provided by the Canadian Government to promote the opening ceremony by encouraging indifferent passers-by to play their rather lame Wii game, the sporting tar sands activists held their very own ‘Oil-ympics’. Splitting into three competing teams –Shell, BP and RBS – they launched themselves gamely into the ‘Race for the Tar Sands’. A few tug-of-wars, several spirited relays and some truly bizarre improvised curling matches later, and the medals were awarded. Report and lots of silly pictures here:

http://www.demotix.com/news/249024/canadian-tar-sands-oily-olympics

A photo made it into Monday’s Guardian print edition – woop! Pictures of the action are cropping up all over.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/feb/28/canada-tar-sands-investor-protest

Thanks to everyone who has shown their support!

OIL-YMPICS COME TO TRAFALGAR SQUARE

February 12, 2010

On Saturday, 13 February at 12 noon, UK and Canadian environmental activists will open the ‘Oil-ympics’ at Canada House in Trafalgar Square. The event, timed to coincide with the opening of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, will highlight the role of British companies in the single biggest industrial project on earth, the Canadian Tar Sands (1).

The Oil-ympics event will see activists divided into three teams: BP, Shell and RBS, all ready to ‘Race to the Tar Sands’. Traditional winter sports will be subverted to illustrate the irony of Canada portraying the Vancouver Winter Olympics as an event which celebrates Canadian indigenous culture and environmental sustainability, while in the neighbouring province of Alberta, Canadian First Nations are finding that their lands, communities and health are being devastated by the Tar Sands (2).

BP will receive special attention after it recently unveiled plans to embark on its first Tar Sands extraction project. BP had previously sold its potential stake in Alberta in 1999, when BP’s chief executive at the time, Lord Browne, deemed Tar Sands extraction to be economically unviable and environmentally unpleasant. However, BP’s new chief executive, Tony Hayward, is now set to make BP a major player in the Tar Sands with a partnership with Canada’s Husky Energy – a venture that is facing sharp criticism from BP’s own shareholders (3, 4).

Alice Hargreaves, of the UK Tar Sands Network, said: “BP has been trying to prove that they are ‘Beyond Petroleum’ for years, but with their entry into the Tar Sands project, we can see the truth: Beyond Petroleum is nothing more than a Broken Promise. BP shareholders are rebelling over this betrayal, and so are we. Over the next two months, we’ll be putting the pressure on to make sure BP get the message – stay out of the Tar Sands!”

Shell has been singled out as it is already a major operator in the Tar Sands, and RBS as it is the 7th biggest global investor in the Tar Sands. (5)

BBC Coverage: Campaign on tar sands extraction targets oil investors

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8527853.stm

tarsandsinfocus@gmail.com

(1) Deposits of Tar Sands are spread out over 54,000 square miles of prime forest in northern Alberta, an area the size of England and Wales combined. Producing crude oil from the Tar Sands generates up to five times more carbon dioxide, the principal global warming gas, than conventional drilling: see

Environment Canada, 2007, National Inventory Report Greenhouse Gas Sources and Sinks in Canada 1990–2005, http://www.ec.gc.ca/pdb/ghg/inventory_report/2006_report/som-sum_eng.cfm

(2) This action is in solidarity with Canadian First Nations who have called for a moratorium on the Tar Sands. For more information see the Indigenous Environmental Network:http://www.ienearth.org/cits.html

(3) BP has entered a joint venture with Husky Energy to develop a Tar Sands facility which will be capable of producing 200,000 barrels of crude a day by 2020. In return for a half share of Husky’s Sunrise field in the Athabasca region of Alberta, the epicentre of the Tar Sands industry, BP has sold its partner a 50 per cent stake in its Toledo oil refinery in Ohio. The companies plan to invest $10 billion in the project, making BP a major player in Tar Sands extraction. The final investment decision will be made in the next few months.

http://www.bp.com/genericarticle.do?categoryId=2012968&contentId=7038865

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601082&sid=aGw2sL7JwHG8

(4) A coalition of shareholders has tabled a resolution for BP’s AGM on April 15 highlighting the environmental and social risks of Tar Sands extraction. http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/natural_resources/article7018483.ece

(5) For Shell Investments see http://www.foei.org/en/resources/publications/pdfs-members/economic-justice/shells-big-dirty-secret/view?searchterm=shell%27s%20big%20dirty%20secret

For RBS investments see http://understory.ran.org/2010/01/31/banks-ranked-and-spanked-on-tar-sands/

CLIMATE PROTESTORS SCALE CANADIAN EMBASSY AND DEFACE FLAG

December 16, 2009

This is the largest industrial development in the world and is devastating for the indigenous communities that live there, not only destroying the land itself but increasing levels of cancer, poisoning much of their traditional food sources and leaving the water unsafe to drink. [4] This violates the indigenous treaty rights legally bound to this region.

The three activists who scaled the Canadian High Commission this morning have just completed their 10th night in occupation of Trafalgar square with the Camp for Climate Action [5]

Jake Colman, one of the climbers and a ‘Climate Camper’ justifies his actions:

“We are here to expose the greed driven agenda of Prime Minister Harper and the corporate lobbyists of Shell and BP who have tainted Canada with dirty oil and risk global catastrophe to selfishly profit from environmental and human destruction. We in the UK play a large role in funding these murderous ventures with the likes of RBS –now 84% publicly owned having already invested billions, and BP currently preparing to move in to Tar Sands”

Currently in Copenhagen, Canada is proposing an inadequate target for reducing greenhouse emissions by only 3% by 2020 ignoring world scientists’ recommendations to commit to over 40% reductions below 1990 levels in order to avoid dangerous runaway climate change. Canada has already completely failed to meet its commitments to the Kyoto Treaty and refuses to sign the UN’s Declaration of Rights for Indigenous Peoples whilst continuing development of Tar Sands oil extraction.

Clayton Thomas-Muller, an Indigenous activist with the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), speaks during the Copenhagen summit:

“The Canadian government continues to ignore its own laws, which state they must consult with Indigenous Peoples who have been trying to convey concerns about Tar Sands development. Tar Sands are killing our communities and trampling over our rights. Furthermore, the environmental destruction wreaked by the Tar Sands is directly threatening thousands of lives now and is driving our climate into chaos. The world has woken up to the fact that Canada is now Public Climate Enemy Number One. It’s time Canada did its global duty and shut down the Tar Sands,”

Monday 14th saw the road outside Canada House blockaded in anger of Harper and Tar Sands:

http://indymedia.org.uk/en/2009/12/443459.html

Climate Activists Tell Canada: Don’t Cop Out On COP 15!

December 14, 2009

On Monday 14th of December, campaigners from the UK Tar Sands Network and Camp for Climate Action protested outside Canada House in London and shut down Pall Mall Street in Trafalgar Square to protest against Canada’s attempts to derail the climate change negotiations in Copenhagen.

Canada is one of the biggest current stumbling blocks to an ambitious and binding climate deal – because it continues extracting oil from the most destructive project on earth, the Tar Sands. [1] This protest will take place in solidarity with similar protests in Copenhagen itself and several Canadian cities.

The Tar Sands in Alberta, Canada, are one of the world’s most polluting projects and are having a devastating effect on the lives of Indigenous communities and fuelling global climate change. Currently in Copenhagen, Canada is proposing an inadequate target for reducing greenhouse emissions by only 3% by 2020 ignoring world scientists’ recommendations to commit to over 40% reductions below 1990 levels in order to avoid dangerous runaway climate change. As a result, international criticism of Canada is mounting. Last week, a group of 11 Members of the European Parliament called on the leaders of BP, Shell, Statoil and Total companies to halt production of oil from the tar sands. [2]

“Canada has already spectacularly failed to meet its Kyoto Protocol targets and has shown no signs of changing its priorities in Copenhagen. Instead of making the necessary shift to a low carbon economy, the Canadian government continues to approve new Tar Sands leases and is refusing to co-operate with international efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change. This affects the whole world,” says Suzanne Dhaliwal of the UK Tar Sands Network, who will be at the London protest.

“The Canadian government continues to ignore its own laws, which state they must consult with Indigenous Peoples who have been trying to convey concerns about Tar Sands development. Tar Sands are killing our communities and trampling over our rights. Furthermore, the environmental destruction wreaked by the Tar Sands is directly threatening thousands of lives now and is driving our climate into chaos. The world has woken up to the fact that Canada is now Public Climate Enemy Number One. It’s time Canada did its global duty and shut down the Tar Sands,” says Clayton Thomas-Muller, an Indigenous activist with the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), who is participating in the parallel Tar Sands protest in Copenhagen.

UK campaigning against the Tar Sands, in solidarity with IEN, has focused on BP which plans to enter the Tar Sands through the massive ‘Sunrise Project’ and the Royal Bank of Scotland, now 84% state-owned, which has invested £8.3 billion in the Tar Sands since 2007 according to new research by the Rainforest Action Network.

The “Canada:Don’t Cop out on COP” action will start in Trafalgar Square, which has been occupied by the Camp for Climate Action [3]  for the duration of the Copenhagen negotiations as a base for UK based solidarity actions. Campaigners will then move onto Canada House to deliver their message to the Canadian government.

[1] See the Indigenous Environmental Network’s Canadian Indigenous Tar Sands Campaign, http://www.ienearth.org/cits

[2] http://www.tarsandswatch.org/members-european-parliament-appeal-companies-stop-tar-sand-business

[3] The Camp for Climate Action is a growing grass-roots movement of diverse people taking action on climate change. http://www.climatecamp.org.uk/about