Posts Tagged ‘tar sands’

Alberta tar sands

January 17, 2015

Flail away the skin of the living earth, strip it of forests, topsoil, what is called overburden, create a desolate landscape, toxic lagoons, spoil heaps, all to get at the tar sands beneath.

Naomi Klein in This Changes Everything:

Even before I saw the great mines, when the landscape out of the window was still bright green boggy marshes and lush boreal forest, I could feel them – a catch in the back of my throat. Then, up and over a small elevation, there they were: the notorious Alberta tar sands, a parched, gray desert stretching to the horizon. Mountains of waste so large workers joke that they have their own weather systems. Tailing ponds so vast they are visible from space. The second largest dam in the world, built to contain that toxic water. The earth skinned alive.

No amount of money can compensate for poisoned water, a poisoned and devastated land.

Freshly killed moose, the flesh turned green, tumours, that is when you find any moose. Consequence of drinking toxic water.

Canada is not the oil superpower it likes to think it is. It has been turned into little more than a Third World country raped and pillaged for its resources by corporate and state owned oil companies.

Tar sands is not the economic boom it was made out to be, not that any amount of money cam compensate for a poisoned land.

Residents in Alberta are facing massive hikes in their electricity bills.

Jim Wachowich of the Alberta Consumers Coalition:

Worst case scenario it goes up $20 a month. That’s an extra $240 a year on your electric bill that you can’t avoid because you can’t go off the grid.

The provincial government initially said the hike in monthly bills to cover the cost of new power lines would be less than the price of a cup of coffee.

“That’s a pretty expensive cup of coffee,” according NDP electricity critic Brian Mason.

Suncor Energy has slashed $1-billion from its 2015 budget and will cut roughly 1,000 jobs as it delays a major oil sands project, accelerating the industry’s slowdown amid plunging oil prices.

Alberta is in financial meltdown, the price massive public sector cuts.

Plummeting oil prices, which fell below $50 a barrel this week, have caused the province to reassess its financial future. Last week, Prentice revealed that the province is forecast to end the year with a $500-million deficit, instead of the surplus originally expected.

Alberta Premier Jim Prentice:

I could terminate the employment of every single employee of the Government of Alberta, leaving aside health care, and it would not fill a six- to seven-billion-dollar hole.

The Conference Board of Canada has released a report saying that the drop in oil prices may push Alberta into a recession.

Alberta has moved from boom to bust within the space of a few months, and will take Canada with it. And what will it have left?

We need to keep in the ground 80% of known carbon reserves if we are to keep within a 2C global temperature rise.

James Hansen has said if we dig up and burn the Alberta tar sands it is ‘game over for the climate’.

We are moving to dirtier, more hazardous, more extreme methods of fossil fuel extraction: tar sands, fracking, deepwater, Arctic. It does not get dirtier than Alberta tar sands.

Tar sands requires three times the amount of energy to extract as conventional oil reserves.

The frontiers of extraction often resemble war zones, with the people fighting back.

Romania and Poland have seen off fracking.

Indigenous people, on whose land tar sand extraction is taking place, are leading the fight, pointing to Treaties, which State and Federal government are in breach of.

Keystone XL pipeline, if ever built, would pass through native Indian lands, who are opposed, as is everyone along the route.

For Alberta, tar sands has been an economic and environmental disaster.

Fossil fuel can no longer compete with renewables and local, community owned and controlled energy grids. There are now trillions of dollars of stranded assets in the fossil fuel sector.

Fracking in England is looking for generous tax concessions, a compliant government driving a coach and horses through the planning system, the taxpayer expected to pay for explorative drilling.

BP, following the collapse in the price of Brent crude is out with its corporate begging bowl calling for tax concessions to get it through hard times. SNP, that only a few months ago claimed an independent Scotland would have oil revenue, is now pleading for bail out of the oil industry.

Bill Gates confronted: Why do you invest in dirty energy?

December 1, 2014

Bill Gates both directly and indirectly through the Gates Foundation is a major investor in dirty fuels, coal, oil and tar sands.

He is dismissive of alternative energy, but a strong supporter of geoengineering and mythical solutions that do not exist.

He likes to portray himself as the billionaire super hero and philanthropist, out to save the planet.

No Tarsands action at the BP AGM

April 16, 2011

The only way we can have accountability is if shareholders hold the company in which they own shares to account. If they are locked out because they have an opposing view, there can be no accountability.

That the security thugs knew who these people were on entry and then had them carefully watched, suggests to me the group has been heavily infiltrated.

I recall several years ago attending a BAA AGM. I was literally talking to the media from dawn to dusk. We even managed to have a reasonable sized demonstration outside which we organised by word of mouth (and that was before the days of social media) and had politicians on the platform.

I even managed to speak at the AGM. The response I got from the Chairman was: Sir, you appear to be challenging the board. Actually I think the word phrase was threatening the board. Well yes, that was exactly what I was doing. I then had the microphone snatched out of my hand. I was not though ejected.

Surprisingly, after the AGM, I was able to have a very open and frank discussion with the chief executive.

Spilling the News
Emails expose BP’s attempts to control research into impact of Gulf oil spill

Keep Europe Out of the Tar Sands

January 14, 2011

On the Morning of January the 14th a group of protestors invaded the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and are demanding a meeting with Stephen Green, the new Minister for Trade. Calling themselves the “Big Society Trade Negotiators”, they are concerned that trade negotiations between the EU and Canada, due to start in Brussels on Monday, will dramatically boost Europe’s involvement in the Canadian Tar Sands — the most destructive project on earth.

Unbeknownst to most citizens, the EU and Canada are in the midst of negotiating an ambitious free trade deal (the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA) that could open up the European market to imports of carbon-intensive Tar Sands oil for the first time [1]. Perhaps the most controversial aspect of the talks is the plan to allow multinational companies like BP and Shell to sue national governments over social and environmental regulations [2]. This is happening despite the increasingly urgent need for governments to crack down on the destructive and dangerous activities of such companies.

British shareholders, NGOs and campaigners have expressed increasing concern over the involvement of UK banks and oil companies in the highly polluting extraction of “dirty oil” from the Tar Sands [3]. Emitting three to five times as much CO2 as conventional oil drilling, the Tar Sands industry is destroying the livelihoods and health of local Indigenous communities and decimating ancient forests and wildlife across an area of Alberta larger than England [4]. The proposed trade deal would increase Europe’s involvement in the project and significantly expand the market for this dirty oil.

There will be another protest in Brussels on Monday 17th January outside the negotiations themselves, involving UK, European and Canadian groups, and Indigenous activists [5].

Jess Worth from the UK Tar Sands Network said: “Stephen Green has been parachuted in by the coalition government as Trade Minister. Completely unelected, this former Chair of HSBC was rapidly handed a seat in the Lords and then began his new job on the 1st of January. Given that HSBC is the world’s 13th largest investor in the Tar Sands, we are concerned that he will put the interests of oil companies and the Tar Sands industry ahead of environmental and social concerns in these, his first major trade negotiations. So the Big Society Trade Negotiators have come to help him make the right decisions.”

Emily Coats, also from the UK Tar Sands Network, added “The CETA trade negotiations between Canada and the EU are in full swing, yet most citizens have never heard of them. Climate scientists have warned that further Tar Sands extraction could lock us into disastrous and unstoppable climate change, but Europe is sleepwalking into major involvement with the project. We’re calling for the talks to be put on hold until there can be proper public scrutiny, and the many social, environmental and Indigenous rights problems can be addressed.”



Notes for editors

[1] The CETA negotiations are about halfway through and due to be completed towards the end of 2011. The next round of talks will take place in Brussels next week.

[2] For a full explanation of the problems with CETA, please see “Keep Europe out of the Tar Sands!”, a briefing by Council of Canadians, Indigenous Environmental Network and UK Tar Sands Network, available at

[3] The last 18 months have seen a growing number of organisations taking action against British banks and companies with links to the Tar Sands. Both BP and Shell have faced shareholder resolutions over their Tar Sands investments, as well as protests at their offices and petrol stations. The Royal Bank of Scotland has also come under fire for being the 7th largest global investor in the industry, using British taxpayers’ money, and were targeted by the Camp for Climate Action, who camped for a week in the grounds of their global headquarters in Edinburgh last summer. For more information see:

Indigenous Environmental Network

UK Tar Sands Network



Camp for Climate Action

[4] For more information on the destructive nature of the Tar Sands, please see:

Indigenous Environmental Network

Dirty Oil Sands

UK Tar Sands Network

Shot on the Panasonic GH2

Produced by “You and I FIlms

Also see

Living with Tar Sands

The health effects of Tar Sands

The Earth does not belong to You

Zero Carbon by 2030

Climate Camp vs RBS – We’ve arrived

Oily Gaga

Living with Tar Sands

January 8, 2011

Henry Basil from the Lutselk’e Community shares his experience of living with the Tar Sands Industry.

Also see

The Earth does not belong to You

Zero Carbon by 2030

The health effects of Tar Sands

Climate Camp vs RBS – We’ve arrived

Oily Gaga

The health effects of Tar Sands

August 25, 2010

But one thing I realised again and again these past few days was quite the extent to which the RBS top dogs – and consequently the police – were frightened. – Sophie

RBS has blood on its hands. The tar sands extraction project in Alberta, Canada, is by all accounts (and that includes figures inside the business) the most carbon-intensive project we have ever come up with as a species. It is leaving a UK-sized hole that looks like Tolkien’s Mordor, full of poisonous tailing-ponds, in the Canadian wilderness. – Sophie

Concerted action to tackle climate change will happen only if the public demands it for the sake of future generations. – James Hansen

The Royal Bank of Scotland was exposed as rotten to the core when it speculated in the sub-prime market, almost brought down the banking system and had to be bailed out with billions of pounds of taxpayers money. This had a knock on effect of causing the economy to collapse and creating a mountain of public debt, for which we are all paying, especially the poor, with savage cuts to public services.

The bank is now accountable, is investing in small businesses the engines of any economic recovery, is helping to finance new and growing green and sustainable businesses which everyone recognises as the future?

Err no.

€2.3 billion has been invested in tars sands extraction in Canada.

RBS is investing in brutal resource wars in Africa. $100 million to Tullow Oil for drilling on the border between Congo and Uganda. So far 15 million people have been killed in the resource wars between these two countries. Tullow Oil together with their partners Heritage Oil have been arming both sides in the conflict.

RBS is financing Cain Oil to drill in the Arctic. The CEO of Cain welcomes global warming as more ice melts giving access to more oil.

RBS is Europe’s biggest financier of fossil fuel exaction accounting for 3% of global carbon emission, greater than the UK total carbon emission.

The People own the bank. They make the effort to recycle, walk not drive, use the car less, turn down the heating, insulate their homes, maybe not take that foreign holiday they were looking forward to, buy a greener car. All of which is to nought because of the actions of a bank that they own.

also see

Climate Camp – Why RBS

Yes, we broke the law as climate change activists. And this is why

Am I an activist for caring about my grandchildren’s future? I guess I am

New Study Links Toxic Pollutants to Canadian Oil Sands Mining

Oil sands polluting Alberta river system

Climate Camp vs RBS – We’ve arrived

Raising a Ruckus

Ribs the Trojan Pig makes a mess at Cairn Energy

Raising a Ruckus

August 22, 2010

Climate Camp has set up camp outside the global headquarters of Royal Bank of Scotland to highlight their funding of dirty energy. Unless we park our tanks on their lawns nothing will change. It is only by taking direct action that we effect change.

A report revealed today by the Sunday Herald shows that RBS has provided nearly £13 billion worth of funding to the oil and gas industries since it was bailed out by the taxpayer two years ago. This is at a time when small businesses are being starved into bankruptcy through lack of finance.

Also see

Climate Camp vs RBS – We’ve arrived

How RBS funds ‘dirty oil’

Why should state-owned companies be ethics-free zones?

RBS: £13bn funding to companies blamed for global warming

RBS under siege over “environmental vandalism”

Climate change campaigners turn up the heat on RBS chiefs

RBS Porkies and Climate Camp Frogs

RBS moves to avoid protest

Climate Camp vs RBS – We’ve arrived

August 21, 2010

Climate Camp is this year in Edinburgh during the Fringe targetting RBS, bailed out by the taxpayer and now funding tar sands expansion in Canada.

Climate Camp has set up camp right next to the Royal Bank of Scotland Global HQ!

No democratic advancement has ever been achieved without direct action. Those in power do not voluntarily give it up.

Further images have been posted by Amelia Gregory.

Last year Climate Camp occupied Blackheath Common in Greewich.

Also see

Blood Bank – RBS funding clmate chaos and ecocide

Climate Camp: Breaking the Bank

Climate Camp Scotland

High Pressure Front

Climate protest camp targets RBS headquarters

Protest at RBS group oil support

Activists set up Climate Camp at Royal Bank of Scotland headquarters

Climate protester breaches RBS Gogarburn security and glues herself to desk

Pakistani floods reportedly triggered by climate change

Greenwash spill at the BP-sponsored National Portrait cotland

%d bloggers like this: