On Wednesday 31st October 2012 campaigners from Kirklees Campaign Against Climate Change protested at the sites of two corporations involved in the Tar Sands development in Canada which has been labeled “the most destructive project on earth”.
Canada’s tar sands are the biggest energy project in the world, currently producing 1.5 million barrels of oil a day Canada is the biggest supplier of oil to the US, the world’s largest oil consumer. Already, millions of barrels of tar sands oil have been extracted from under the Canadian wilderness, producing three to five times as many greenhouse gas emissions as conventional oil extraction. The tar sands must be shut down if we are serious about tackling disastrous climate change. Tar sands developments have created toxic tailings ponds so huge they are visible from space, which leak poisons into the local water supply. Indigenous treaties are being violated and communities are experiencing disturbingly high rates of rare forms of cancer and auto- immune diseases.
Members of Kirklees Campaign Against Climate Change campaigned outside the Royal Bank of Scotland in Market Place and also the Shell Petrol Station on Westbourne Road.
Royal Bank of Scotland
RBS is the leading financier of Tar Sands in the UK and the 7th largest in the world. Since the taxpayer bailout in 2008 RBS has raised over $ 12 billion for companies involved in the Tar Sands.
The campaigners are calling on the Royal Bank of Scotland to:
- Create a moratorium on providing finance of any kind to companies that are actively engaged in extracting tar sands or any other form of ‘unconventional’ oil.
- Develop revised investment mandates to identify which activities, such as tar sands extraction, should not be funded in future.
- Make the right and principles of Free, Prior and Informed Consent of Aboriginal peoples a condition of all forms of project finance.
Royal Dutch Shell is one of the largest players in tar sands, producing approximately 276 000 barrels per day or roughly 20% of total exports from Alberta. Shell has put forth applications to expand its capacity to a projected 770 000 barrel per day capacity. However, strong community resistance to Shell has damaged their reputation with both shareholders and the public. Indeed, Shell has been named in five lawsuits related to tar sands developments and has faced shareholder resolutions demanding greater clarity over the risk of tar sands investments.
The campaigners are calling on Shell to:
- Assess and disclose information through an independent review of the social, environmental and economic impacts of its operations in Alberta
- Develop revised investment mandates drawing on expertise and guidance from independent sources and best practices in the financial sector to identify and mitigate the health impacts of tar sands on First Nation communities
- Make the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent of Aboriginal peoples a precondition of all projects.
- To immediately stop expansion in the Canadian Tar Sands, and start phasing out its rolein this development with a clear time frame for withdrawal.
The campaigners collected postcards to send to Nick Clegg about Tar Sands. The government is considering the EU Fuel Quality Directive which is currently keeping Tar Sands out of the European Union. The Canadian government is lobbying hard to ensure that the government allows Tar Sands to be sold in the EU.
More information about the Tar Sands campaign is at: https://kirkleescampaignagainstclimatechange.wordpress.com/campaigns/