Indigenous leaders speak against Pathways Alliance industry event hosted by Canada at COP, as allies walk out of event
Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt – At COP27 today, Indigenous advocates, climate activists and allies made a strong statement against the influence of the oil and gas industry at the climate negotiations, by holding a demonstration outside a panel hosted by the Pathways Alliance, a tar sands industry group. Separately and prior to the demonstration, allies walked out during the session. The event was hosted at the Canada Pavilion, an official government space set up during COP27. The Pathways Alliance event was intended to promote the false solution of carbon capture and storage— despite the technology’s decades-long track record of underperformance and failure. Even if the technology did work, carbon capture would do nothing about the environmental harm caused to Indigenous nations at the frontlines of oil and gas extraction.
Canada’s tar sands are some of the highest emissions intensity oil in the world. They have amassed over 1 trillion litres of toxic tailings waste, which have a clean up cost of over $45 billion and rising. Tar sands development and forest fires have disrupted more than 7,700 square kilometres of boreal forest. The pollution and habitat disruption from extraction harmed the health, culture and way of life of nearby Indigenous communities.
This demonstration comes after a formal request asking the government of Canada to cancel the event, signed by organizations from Canada and around the world.
“The tar sands and fracked gas industry has devastated Indigenous lands and communities, with generations of public health crises as a result. With false technologies like carbon capture, sequestration, and storage, the world’s biggest polluters are devising expensive and unrealistic systems to attempt to take carbon out of the air and calculate these efforts as a reduction in emissions, while allowing the pollution and extreme exploitive violence to continue in our communities. These corporations and wealthy governments, like the U.S. and Canada, will only ever consider these false solutions that allow them to continue making profit off of our resources while Indigenous people continue to pay the ultimate price. Until fossil fuels are no longer extracted and exploited against communities, the climate crisis will worsen and we will continue to be harmed by predatory institutions.” Jordan Harmon, Policy Advisor, Indigenous Environmental Network
“Canada has a long history of violating the rights of Indigenous peoples in their pursuit of promoting and subsidizing the extraction of tar sands. This trend is being continued by Canada’s latest proposal to legalize the release of treated, but still toxic, tailings into the Deh Cho (Mackenzie) River watershed without first obtaining the free, prior and informed consent of downstream and impacted Indigenous nations, which is required according to international standards and Canadian domestic law. Canada needs to start respecting Indigenous rights instead of promoting false climate solutions like carbon capture if they are serious about stopping the climate crisis and preventing ecological collapse.” Daniel T’seleie, NWT Outreach Manager, Executive Steering Committee for Indigenous Climate Action, Keepers of the Water
“We say ‘Colonialism causes climate change’ and this is a prime example of that truth. Canada clearly can’t be trusted to take climate action seriously. Time and time again they show they are more interested in catering to the Oil, Gas and Tar Sands industry rather than ensuring respect for Indigenous rights and the health of local communities.
Globally, there are calls to ‘Kick Big Polluters Out’ of the UNFCCC climate events recognizing that Big Polluters are not helpful to be involved in strategies to address climate change because their interests lie with continuing a business-as-usual model that perpetuates the harm of extractive industries and corporate control over decision making. Indigenous people are on the frontlines of calling out false solutions, demonstrating again and again the leadership of our people in real solutions and the importance of ensuring our rights and sovereignty are upheld.” Eriel Deranger, Indigenous Climate Action
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- Kick Big Polluters Out at COP27