The US says no to tar sands
Today in Washington DC, tens of thousands of people are taking part in the biggest climate rally in US history. They are asking President Obama to move #ForwardOnClimate and, specifically, to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. The President’s imminent decision will have momentous consequences. The KXL pipeline is ‘a fuse to the largest carbon bomb on the planet.’ If the tar sands industry is allowed to expand as it plans to, it will be ‘game over’ for the climate – and the ramifications will affect people across the world. If the pipeline is rejected it will be a huge leap towards reining in the world’s most destructive industry.
First Nations say no to tar sands
First Nations in Canada are on the frontline of the highly polluting tar sands development, and have suffered for decades as their lands, food and water sources are slowly poisoned. Many communities have been actively speaking out, and taking legal action, against the government and industry. In recent months there has been an explosion of grassroots Indigenous-led activism, with the #IdleNoMore movement, a response to the Canadian government’s infamous Bill C-45 – a bundle of laws that further strips away First Nations’ abilities to assert their treaty rights, protect their waterways, and say ‘no’ to polluting projects on their land. From Europe we do our best to support First Nations communities who are struggling to protect the air they breathe and water they drink. Their struggle to protect Mother Earth is our struggle to protect the climate.
KXL – bringing tar sands oil to Europe?
President Obama’s decision over whether to approve KXL affects us in Europe too. In order to justify its catastrophic expansion plans, the tar sands industry needs to find new markets to export its dirty oil to. The aim of building the KXL pipeline is to bring tar sands oil down to Texas so it can be exported. Europe is being eyed up as a key future market. In fact, a US company called Valero is currently drawing up plans to bring KXL oil into the UK via Wales. The local community in Pembrokeshire have vowed to resist this.
How can we stop this?
We can, of course, send our solidarity and support to our friends in the US and Canada who are working so hard to stop KXL and other tar sands infrastructure ever being built. But there is something crucial for us in Europe to do too. A key piece of climate legislation is currently going through the EU. Known as the ‘Fuel Quality Directive’ (FQD), it would acknowledge that tar sands oil is far more polluting than conventional oil, and strongly discourage its use in Europe. If passed, it will effectively stop tar sands becoming commercially viable in Europe, making it extremely difficult for Valero to continue with their plans for Pembroke, and send a strong message to Canada and the rest of the world that tar sands is dirty oil and we do not want it.
The FQD under threat
For the last two years, a powerful coalition of oil companies and the Canadian government has been aggressively lobbying the EU and its member states to prevent inclusion of the tar sands in the FQD. This unprecedented lobbying effort has succeeded in stalling the process and persuading key member states – in particular the UK, Germany, France and the Netherlands – to block the decision. Another vote is coming up later this year. Now is the time for the citizens of Europe to come together and demand our leaders do the right thing and keep tar sands out of Europe!
Europe says no to tar sands
On this momentous day of climate action we are joining the struggles of communities resisting extreme energy worldwide, from KXL protesters in Washington, to First Nations in Alberta, to the community of Pembrokeshire in Wales trying to keep tar sands fuel away from their shores.
Please sign this petition to support the community of Pembrokeshire in advocating for the FQD, and show the world that Europe says NO to tar sands.