(For release at 12:30 pm – January 28, 2008 – Vancouver, BC) Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach was greeted at the Council of the Federation meeting in Vancouver today by protestors from a broad coalition of environmental groups who are upset by runaway global warming emissions from oil and gas extraction in Alberta’s tar sands.
“Exploding climate-changing emissions from the tar sands are undercutting the efforts of every province and every citizen working to make Canada a world leader on fighting global warming,” said Andrea Reimer of the Wilderness Committee.
“Alberta is already responsible for one-third of the nation’s emissions and now their Premier wants to grow that even more. It’s time for Alberta to stop saying `let them eat carbon’ to the other provinces and tighten their own belt on the tar sands.”
Reimer was referring to the Alberta government’s ‘green plan’ released last Thursday that would see Alberta’s emissions continue to grow until 2020. In that time, tar sands emissions would balloon, eclipsing the aggressive 2020 emissions cuts aimed for by provinces such as British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec. Nothing in federal law prevents Alberta from increasing emissions, although the federal government recently said that they would like to see overall reductions in the country.
“The tar sands are holding Canadians hostage,” said Christopher Hatch of Environmental Defence. “The Alberta government is using the vacuum created by weak leadership from Ottawa to stomp on the gas pedal. The planet cannot afford this lack of leadership from Ottawa and neither can any politician who hopes to keep the public’s trust.”
Tzeporah Berman of ForestEthics, who attended the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali in December, was also on hand. “There is no question that the marketplace is starting to wake up to how dirty oil from the tar sands is, and Canadians are beginning to realize how Harper and Stelmach’s climate plans are simply greenwash designed to protect increased growth. ForestEthics has a strong record of successful markets interventions on critical environmental issues and the tar sands will be a major focus of ours in the coming months.”
Alberta-based Greenpeace campaigner Mike Hudema was not surprised to see that Alberta was being targeted as a climate pariah by Canadian environmental organizations. “Big oil continues to dictate climate policy in Alberta. It’s time for Stelmach to get his head out of the tar sands and start listening to what citizens are telling him right across the country – it’s time to stop the tar sands.”
The protest took place at the Pan Pacific hotel, the site of the Premiers conference from 12:30 – 1:30 pm. Photos are available upon request.
– 30 –
For more information contact:
Tzeporah Berman, ForestEthics, 604-313-4713
Andrea Reimer, Wilderness Committee, 604-719-3920
Chris Hatch, Environmental Defence, 250-203-1299
Mike Hudema, Greenpeace, 780-504-5601