tar-sandsOn Wednesday, the fourth Annual climate camp will happen at an undisclosed location in London, building on previous year’s success at Drax, Kingsnorth and Heathrow.

With just months to go to the crucial Copenhagen Climate Summit in December, the intention is to force our politicians to act.

But activists from around Britain will also be joined by Native American campaigners from Canada who are protesting at BP and Shell’s “criminal” involvement in the country’s dirty tar sands.Five representatives from the Cree First Nations are coming to the Climate Camp to highlight their plight and the devastating activities of Shell and BP and the banks that are bank-rolling the development such as the Royal Bank of Scotland.  Although the tar sands are happening in Canada, they are being driven from London’s Square Mile. It is decisions in the panelled-boardrooms of London that are having such a devastating efffect thousands of miles away.

Lionel Lepine, a member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation and one of the visiting group, said: “Tar sands is a global phenomenon. It is the largest industrial project in the world. It is also the dirtiest. Tar Sands produce three times as much CO2 per barrel as conventional oil. There’s enough under the ground to push us over the edge into runaway climate change. It should be everyone’s concern.”

Eriel Tchekwie Deranger, from Fort Chipewyan, the community at the “ground zero” of the tar sands, said British companies were complicit in “the biggest environmental crime on the planet”.  She accused BP and Royal Bank of Scotland  of “driving this project, which is having such devastating effects on our environment and communities. It is destroying the ancient boreal forest, spreading open-pit mining across our territories, contaminating our food and water with toxins, disrupting local wildlife and threatening our way of life”.

George Poitras, a former chief of the Mikisew Cree First Nation, said “the Tar Sands are violating our Aboriginal and Treaty rights in so many ways. 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’.

Meanwhile the oil companies are hitting back with a PR campaign to convince everyone that tar sands are not so dirty.
The news wire Bloomberg reports that Shell and Exxon “are rolling out technology intended to eliminate the environmental disadvantage of Canadian oil sands.”

The companies are arguing that high-temperature froth treatment cuts carbon emissions from extracting crude from sand and mud by 10 to 15 percent, which means that tar sands will be no more polluting than conventional oil production….

Sounds like a froth of hot air to me..

One Comment

  • We can look at this in two ways, yes the extraction of oil from the tar sands is having a devastating effect on both the nearby residents, and on a larger scale, the environment. However, oil is a global nescessity and since the upstream oil and gas sector is becoming increasingly diminished as were running out of places to look, isn’t it only right that we should be using the already existing sources? Surely we have to use it all at some point, why not now?

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