Tar Sands Solutions Network

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Canada will continue to produce and use oil for some time, but building an economy based on tar sands oil means missing the boat on the enormous employment and economic opportunities created by the inexorable global transition towards renewable energy. In fact, investment in renewable energy now outpaces investment in fossil fuel infrastructure, and employment opportunities in the renewable energy sector is set to grow substantially in the years ahead. A low carbon future is on the horizon, and Canada needs to abandon the tar sands so it won't be left behind.

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Over the past eight years, and despite a global economic collapse and subsequent challenges in the world’s major economies, the renewable energy sector experienced solid growth. According to recent estimates, the renewable energy sector employs five million people worldwide, and is predicted to grow rapidly as the world transitions to clean sources of energy.

At the same time, the warning signs that we need to get serious about tackling global warming have never been clearer. Thousands of heat records were broken across the continent this year, and Arctic sea ice was almost 700,000 square kilometres smaller than ever before, a loss equivalent to the size of Texas.

The oil industry’s plan to dramatically increase oil production will lead Canada in the wrong direction if we want to reduce climate-changing pollution, ensure a healthy planet for our children, and take advantage of the financial benefits of the renewable energy sector that will inevitably replace the oil industry as the economic engine of our society. Indeed, investing in energy efficiency, renewable energy and public transit not only reduces pollution, it creates six to eight times more jobs than comparable investments in fossil fuels.

We know that Canadians care deeply about both the environment and the economy. The oil industry’s plans to ramp up tar sands production to over five million barrels per day are not in the best interest of Canadians, economically or environmentally. It's time to invest in a clean energy economy and a low carbon future.

Updates & Resources

New study compares federal party positions on climate, tar sands and clean energy


October 2nd 2015

Blog Post: Today two of Canada’s largest environmental groups released a summary of the five major federal parties’ positions on environmental issues, including climate change and the upcoming Paris climate summit, tar sands and the Energy East pipeline as well as renewable energy, public transit and the electrification of transportation. The study is based on responses to a series of questions that the environmental groups sent to the Conservative Party of Canada, the Green Party of Canada, the Liberal Party of Canada, the New Democratic Party, and (in the French version) the Bloc Québécois. All parties responded to the questionnaire except for the Conservative Party.

What is TransCanada’s latest Hail Mary about?

Jane Kleeb | Bold Nebraska - October 8th 2015

Blog Post: TransCanada’s latest Hail Mary has many people scratching their heads. For those of us on the ground, we see through their antics. TransCanada cannot use eminent domain for at least two yearsbecause of a Nebraska law that makes it clear once you invoke eminent domain (which they did months ago) and then abandon eminent domain (which they did last week), you can not use those powers again for at least two years.

California just signed a landmark bill to tackle climate change


Raven Rakia | Grist - October 8th 2015

Press Clipping: It’s official. California Gov. Jerry Brown just signed climate-change bill SB 350 into law. The landmark measure promises to reduce California’s greenhouse gases by increasing the use of renewable energy. By 2030, 50 percent of the state’s electricity will be produced by renewable energy (solar, wind, geothermal). You probably have broken out in celebratory dance by now. Which is fine, because this is great news.

Canadian Climate Policy Report Card: 2015


Marc Jaccard | Simon Fraser University - October 8th 2015

Report: In this 2015 climate policy report card, I evaluate the Canadian government’s emission commitments and policy actions. In the nine years since its promise to reduce Canadian emissions 20% by 2020 and 65% by 2050, the Canadian government has implemented virtually no polices that would materially reduce emissions. The 2020 target is now unachievable without great harm to the Canadian economy. And this may also be the case for the 2050 target, which would require an almost complete transformation of the Canadian energy system in the remaining 35 years.

After the Sands: How will Canada weather a low-carbon future?

Gordon Laxer | University of Alberta - October 8th 2015

Blog Post: Hailed as “a myth-destroying blockbuster book” by Ralph Nader, After the Sands outlines a vision and road map to transition Canada to a low- carbon society: a plan lacking within all of Canada’s major political parties. After the Sands sets out a bold strategy using deep conservation and a Canada-first perspective. The goal: to end oil and natural gas exports and ensure that all Canadians get sufficient energy at affordable prices in a carbon-constrained future.

The planet can’t handle five more years of Harper

Cam Fenton | 350.org - October 7th 2015

Press Clipping: This election has been rough. It's not just the eleven week marathon campaign, or the series of underwhelming shout-fest debates. For me, as someone who is direly concerned about the fate of our planet, it's the simple reality that among Canada's major political parties none have the courage to put forward a plan that reflects the simple scientific truth about tackling the climate crisis -- fossil fuels need to stay in the ground. Since Canada is home to of the world's largest pools of carbon -- the Alberta Tar Sands -- this is a pretty big deal.

All quiet on the science front


Michael Rennie | Canadian Journalists for Free Expression - October 6th 2015

Blog Post: The Canadian public values credible and trustworthy information, and it doesn’t currently believe that our governments are in a position to provide it. A critical means of restoring the public’s trust in government is to provide more transparency into how decisions are made and how various pieces of information are weighed in the decision-making process. Denying government scientists the ability to comment on their own work only makes it look like there’s something to hide, and it suggests that there is neither trust in the scientists who conducted the study to speak objectively, nor in the public to hear what the study has to say from the person most qualified to discuss it.

How Harper triggered a First Nations legal war over Northern Gateway


Mychaylo Prystupa | National Observer - October 6th 2015

Press Clipping: Eight B.C. First Nations are in federal court to launch a legal attack on the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline. The coalition hopes to overturn Ottawa’s conditional approval of the project, which would deliver Alberta crude to B.C.’s north coast. The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs Grand Chief Stewart Phillip pledged to go to jail if necessary to stop the pipeline, and said the federal Conservative government has “completely demonized and vilified Indigenous peoples of this country and has declared all of these [energy] projects in the national interest.”