Cancun, Mexico — A full page ad in the Cancun newspaper Novedades de Quintana Roo greeted Alberta Environment Minister Rob Renner upon his arrival at the international climate conference today, with the headline “Gracias Senior Renner!” and featuring the Minister in a sombrero. The thanks came from the mock oil group, the Canadian Alliance of Petroleum Peddlers, and was placed by Environmental Defence.
The ad text reads:
“As you join us in Cancún, we’d just like to say ¡muchas gracias! for all your work to keep the oil a-flowing from the tar sands in Canada. Subsidies, public relations campaigns, and letting our pollution go up up up – what more could we ask for? Of course, los scientifcos will say there is no room in the atmosphere for the billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide we want to release by digging up and burning the tar sands, but we know that’s simply nutty!”
The ad is part of a two week long initiative by the Canadian Youth Delegation and Environmental Defence to bring attention to the negative role the tar sands are playing in Canada’s refusal to implement serious policies to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, choosing instead to lobby other governments to roll back environmental initiatives. The ad uses wording – “a-flowing” and “simply nutty” – from the work of a Canadian diplomat in Washington, D.C. who was recently exposed in documents received through an Access to Information request to be actively undermining U.S. low carbon fuels policy.
Organizers have been on the ground since the start of the conference last week, posing as members of the Canadian Alliance of Petroleum Peddlers and handing out t-shirts to delegates that say “I came to Cancun for a climate deal, but all I got was this lousy t-shirt.” Pictures of delegates wearing the t-shirts can be found on the Environmental Defence Facebook page.
“Delegates have appreciated a moment of levity during an otherwise very serious meeting,” said Gillian McEachern, Climate and Energy Program Manager with Environmental Defence. “They are also shocked when they find out that digging up and burning the recoverable reserves of the tar sands would result in 183 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. There’s simply no room left for that if we want to preserve our life support systems.”
More on the effort can be found at www.graciaspornada.org.  Electronic version of the ad is available upon request.
-30 –
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Canada contact:  Stephanie Kohls, Environmental Defence, 416-323-9521 ext. 232; 647-280-9521
Cancun contact:  Gillian McEachern, Environmental Defence, 613-292-4416