TORONTO, Nov. 30, 2011 /CNW/ - As the UN climate summit gets underway in
Durban, South Africa, a group of anti-apartheid activists and African
non-governmental organizations are calling on Canada to restore its
reputation as a leader on global issues, which has been tarnished by
Canada's active promotion of the tar sands.
A full-page ad in the Globe and Mail compares the Canada that was one of
the first western countries to impose sanctions against the apartheid
regime in South Africa in 1986 with the Canada's failure to date to
respond to global warming, which will have serious social and
environmental impacts. The text of the ad reads:
"Canada, you were once considered a leader on global issues like human
rights and environmental protection. Today you're home to polluting tar
sands oil, speeding the dangerous effects of climate change. For us in
Africa, climate change is a life and death issue. By dramatically
increasing Canada's global warming pollution, tar sands mining and
drilling makes the problem worse, and exposes millions of Africans to
more devastating drought and famine today and in the years to come.
It's time to draw the line. We call on Canada to change course and be a
leader in clean energy and to support international action to reduce
global warming pollution."
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Africa is
one of the most vulnerable continents to climate change, with projected
reductions in agricultural yield in some countries as high as 50 per
cent by 2020. The population at risk of increased water stress in
Africa is projected to be between 75-250 million and 350-600 million
people by the 2020s and 2050s, respectively. East Africa is currently
dealing with one of its worst ever droughts, with a quarter of a
million people at risk of death in Somalia, and a further 12 million in
need of humanitarian assistance.
"By walking away from Kyoto, the Canadian government is also damaging
our reputation as a country that keeps its word," said Gillian
McEachern of Environmental Defence. "The tar sands are not only turning
us into a polluting nation, but also into one that will break its
commitments in the service of dirty oil."
A new website, www.DrawTheLineatTarSands.com was also launched which features videos from African individuals
speaking about the impacts of climate change on their lives and calling
on Canada and other world leaders to do more. The groups involved
include Environmental Defence Canada, Equiterre, Greenpeace Canada,
Natural Resources Defense Council, Nobel Women's Initiative and Sierra
"We used to boast about how Americans sewed Canadian flags on their
backpack when travelling abroad," said Keith Stewart of Greenpeace
Canada. "Now we try to bully other nations into taking our dirty oil.
If we want to be taken seriously in the fight to stop climate change,
we have to draw the line at the tar sands."
"Exploiting dirty Alberta tar sands oil is not merely short-sighted-from
the global perspective, it's downright negligent," says Michael Brune,
Sierra Club Executive Director. "If the United States is going to be a
leader in the emerging clean energy economy, we must break our
addiction to oil-and there's no better place to draw the line in the
sand than at tar sands."
SOURCE Environmental Defence
For further information:
or to arrange an interview, contact:
Gillian McEachern, Environmental Defence, 613-292-4416; firstname.lastname@example.org
Keith Stewart, Greenpeace Canada, 416-659-0294
Eddie Scher, Sierra Club U.S., 415-815-7027