Today, an open letter signed by 236 international civil society organizations in 44 countries called on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to stop backing the Kinder Morgan tar sands pipeline project and begin planning for a managed decline of fossil fuel production.
The letter points out the clear contradiction between Prime Minister Trudeau’s unchecked support for the Kinder Morgan pipeline project and his commitments to Indigenous reconciliation through the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and his obligation to address climate change through the Paris Agreement.
“Indigenous peoples and First Nations are on the frontlines of both climate impacts and climate solutions,” said Carroll Muffett of the Center for International Environmental Law. “Approving the Kinder Morgan pipeline without the free, prior and informed consent of First Nations undermines UNDRIP, the Paris Agreement and the world’s shared interest in a safe climate.”
The letter explains how the bar for climate leadership has been redefined in recent years. Climate leaders do not expand or finance major fossil fuel expansion. Climate leaders plan for a managed phase-out and just transition away from all fossil fuel production.
“Trudeau claims he wants Canada to be part of the solution to climate change and yet he acts like the boss of a Texan oil company,” says Katherine Kramer, Global Climate Lead at the international relief and development organization, Christian Aid. “Scientists warn us that we must leave fossil fuel reserves in the ground. Rather than building new pipelines like Kinder Morgan, Canada needs to be a country that shows it takes its responsibilities seriously and doesn’t just bury its head in the tar sands.”
The letter notes that currently planned Canadian oil production would use up 16% of the world’s carbon budget to keep temperatures below 1.5 degrees, or 7% of the budget for 2 degrees. Yet, Canada has less than 0.5% of the world’s population.
“It’s Trudeau himself who’s crushing the high hopes and great affection with which he was greeted upon his arrival as Prime Minister, by breaking promises to push pipelines everyone knows are opposed by the First Nations people whose land they impact and undermining the goal of keeping climate change to 2 degrees,” said Rebecca Solnit, noted American author.
“We stand with our indigenous brothers and sisters in the North in their efforts to protect their territories from the Kinder Morgan Pipeline and other destructive fossil fuel infrastructure. It is past time for governments – including the Canadian government – to respect UNDRIP and begin a managed decline of fossil fuel extraction. Our collective futures depend on it,” said Leila Salazar-López, Executive Director of Amazon Watch.
“The Kinder Morgan pipeline threatens to pollute clean air and water, violate the rights of First Nations, and lock us into climate-wrecking fossil fuel extraction. Justin Trudeau has spoken about justice for Indigenous people and addressing climate change, but his actions are miles behind his words. At the end of the day, you cannot be a climate leader while supporting fossil fuel pipelines,” said May Boeve, Executive Director of 350.org.
In 2016, Canada officially adopted UNDRIP. The Declaration requires that governments obtain ‘free, prior and informed consent’ from Indigenous peoples for the approval of any project affecting their lands or territories and other resources. The majority of First Nations in British Columbia with territories along the Kinder Morgan pipeline route are strongly opposed to the project.
- The open letter can be viewed here: http://priceofoil.org/kinder-morgan-letter
- United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/documents/DRIPS_en.pdf
- Treaty Alliance against Tar Sands Expansion: http://www.treatyalliance.org
- Lofoten Declaration on a Managed Decline: http://www.lofotendeclaration.org
- #NotaPennyMore Declaration from Global Economists: https://notapennymore.info/declaration
- For more information on why tar sands pipelines are incompatible with climate goals, see Oil Change International’s Climate on the Line Report: http://priceofoil.org/2017/01/19/Climate-on-the-Line-Why-New-Tar-Sands-Pipelines-Are-Incompatible-with-the-Paris-Goals
- For more details on climate inequality in the Commonwealth, see Christian Aid’s report: https://mediacentre.christianaid.org.uk/new-study-the-climate-change-inequality-at-the-heart-of-the-commonwealth%E2%80%8B
David Turnbull, Oil Change International, [email protected], +1 202-316-3499
Dani Heffernan, 350.org, [email protected], +1 305-992-1544