Media Releases | Greenpeace Canada | September 30, 2009
30 September 2009 (Fort McMurray, Alberta)‚ÄîGreenpeace activists are disrupting Suncor operations today in the heart of the tar sands north of Fort McMurray by blocking two bitumen conveyor belts to highlight the climate crime of tar sands operations.
The 23 activists from Canada, France, Brazil and Germany entered the site early this morning. A team went to the open-pit mine and is stopping the conveyor belts that carry bitumen from the mine across the river to the upgrader. The activists are joined by Greenpeace Canada executive director Bruce Cox.
Live streaming video is at www.greenpeace.org/stoptarsands
"Greenpeace has taken action here today in the heart of climate destruction to drive the message home to world leaders that we need urgent climate leadership, and that means stopping the tar sands," said Bruce Cox, Greenpeace Canada Executive Director. "We are here to drive the message home to world governments that we need urgent climate leadership, and that means stopping the tar sands."
Today's action comes two weeks after Greenpeace successfully stopped a mining operation at Shell and just a week after Rajendra Pachauri, head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world's leading body on climate science, said that Canada is failing on climate action, and should consider putting the tar sands on hold.
Suncor is Canada's largest energy company and the second biggest greenhouse gas emitter in the tar sands. Suncor and the other companies operating in the tar sands produce the dirtiest oil on the planet, with production emissions 3-5 times higher than conventional oil. The tar sands cover an area the size of England. Planned development could increase greenhouse gas emissions from production of dirty oil to 140 megatonnes a year, more than the current annual emissions of Belgium. Today's blockade sends a clear message to world leaders who failed to take urgent climate action at the UNGA and G20 last week that the world is dying for climate leadership.
The action today also highlights how the tar sands not only cause climate disaster and wanton destruction, but are also poisoning the Athabasca, a Canadian heritage river, and threatening people whose lives and livelihoods depend on it.
"Greenhouse gas emissions are just one element of the crimes happening in the tar sands," said Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner Mike Hudema. "Around 11 million litres of toxic chemicals, including carcinogens and other deadly poisons are leaking into groundwater and the Athabasca and poisoning entire communities. Their food is contaminated, their water unsafe to swim in, let alone drink. This is not what the world expects from Canada, but it's the grim reality."
In December, the world has an historic opportunity to step back from the brink of catastrophic climate change. At the UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen, world leaders must agree to urgent measures to save the climate. The continued development of the tar sands threatens to derail international climate action.
Through its KYOTOplus campaign, Greenpeace Canada is working to convince the Harper government to become a leader at the Copenhagen climate summit.
At the time of this release, all activists and the floating banner were still in place.
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High res photos and video will be available shortly at gallery.greenpeace.ca
For more information, please contact:
Bruce Cox, Greenpeace executive director, (780) 880-8536, at the blockade
Jessica Wilson, Greenpeace media and public relations officer, (778) 228-5404, at the blockade
Mike Hudema, Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner, (780) 504-5601 in Edmonton, available for interviews