Tell your MEP to Keep Europe out of the Tar Sands!

Few people realise that the UK government, in partnership with the EU, is in the midst of negotiating an ambitious trade deal that could boost Europe’s involvement in the world’s most destructive project, the Canadian Tar Sands.

The deal, if signed, could allow Tar Sands oil imports into Europe and give dramatic new powers to Europe’s multinational oil companies. It could trample over Indigenous rights in Canada and undermine a range of social and environmental legislation on both sides of the Atlantic.

The proposed Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), if completed as planned, threatens to undermine stricter Tar Sands regulation in Canada and stronger climate policies in Europe. Canada is already threatening to pull out of the trade talks if the EU doesn’t water down a key piece of European climate legislation – the Fuel Quality Directive.

Just as controversial is CETA’s ‘investment chapter’ that would grant Canadian and European companies the right to sue governments when environmental policies interfere with their profits. You can find out more about CETA here.

Rather than give more power to European oil giants, the UK Tar Sands Network is working with Canadian civil society and Indigenous organisations to demand that the CETA negotiations should be halted immediately, until the following concerns have been addressed:

1. Ensure public scrutiny and consultation

2. Keep Tar Sands oil out of Europe

3. No new rights for corporations

4. Social and environmental laws come first

5. Get European companies out of the Tar Sands

6. Respect Indigenous rights

You can take action on this issue, write to your MEP by clicking on the link below:

Climate Camp 2010

The UK Tar Sands Network and the Indigenous Environmental Network joined forces with the Camp for Climate Action in 2010 to raise awareness about UK investment in the Alberta Tar Sands. Indigenous activists Jasmine Thomas and Riannon Ball from British Colombia, Canada are resisting the sprawl of the world’s most destructive project into their territories. They brought their message loud and clear to RBS that investments in the Tar Sands are destroying their traditional homelands and pushing the planet further into Climate Chaos.

Speaker Tour

Eriel Tchekwie Deranger, Heather Milton Lightening and Melina Laboucan-Massimo spent from 13th to 22nd November traveling all over the country to build the UK movement to shut down the Tar Sands. They were interviewed by the Financial Times, spoke to a packed auditorium at the Bristol Arnolfini organised by Platform, sold out the Oxford venue for the New Internationalist speaker event, and Heather found time in between to hop over to Ireland to link up with the Rossport Solidarity Campaign.

Next, they addressed MPs in Parliament – and Simon Hughes (Lib Dem Spokesman for Energy and Climate Change) pledged to make this a major issue for his party. RBS (the world’s 11th biggest investor in the Tar Sands, using OUR money) were clearly rattled – so much so, they turned up at the Parliamentary meeting in person to invite Eriel, Heather and Melina to have a meeting with them! They were probably hoping to head off our plans to have a protest outside their London HQ that afternoon.

It didn’t work.

We still had the protest – a noisy die-in with People & Planet students right outside their front door. Then the three women, plus Kevin from Platform, swanned into the building to challenge them face to face on their dodgy investment practices. Meanwhile, simultaneous protests by P&P groups had taken place outside RBS’s Scotland HQ and outside RBS offices in three other Scottish cities!!!

That evening the gang spoke at two separate events in London, and spent the next day in meetings with Greenpeace and doing interviews, before speaking on a Climate Justice panel at SOAS. Except for super-Heather (does she ever stop?) who nipped over to Copenhagen to make some plans for some conference or other that’s apparently coming up over there quite soon.

Then it was Thursday, and Eriel and Melina (accompanied by Sue, their fiendishly efficient tour manager), chugged up to Wales, to the Centre for Alternative Technology. They spoke at a community meeting in Machynlleth, had an inspiring tour round CAT and took tea and cake with the Great Monbiot himself.

Final stop was Manchester, where Heather rejoined the gang, and they pretty much took over Shared Planet, People & Planet’s national conference – delivering the keynote speech, a workshop, a screening of H2Oil and a Climate Justice panel discussion.

The grand finale took place on Sunday evening in Manchester’s Dancehall Theatre, at a screening of H2Oil organised by Leonie from Ethical Consumer. Then we sobbed our goodbyes, and bid them farewell.

Guardian piece by Eriel

BP Fortnight of Shame!

In April, we organised two weeks of direct action called the ‘Fortnight of Shame’ to highlight BP’s plans to go into the Tar Sands. Actions took place all over the country, culminating in the “Party at the Pumps” where over 100 activists shut down a BP petrol station in London for several hours.

We also supported a First Nations delegation to attend the BP AGM where a shareholder resolution on Tar Sands was voted on, working in partnership with FairPensions and Greenpeace. Whilst some of us went into the meeting to challenge the Board directly, others held a noisy demonstration outside.