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

Paris agreement signals global shift off fossil fuels and to clean economy

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Merran Smith | Clean Energy Canada - December 14th 2015

Blog Post: As the two-week marathon of climate talks wraps up today in Paris, the release of the final agreement text is already generating the predictable round of mixed reactions. But regardless of what has or has not been accomplished at COP21, there’s reason to be optimistic. That’s because solving climate change has a lot to do with the global clean energy transition that’s already underway. The various actions countries are agreeing to under the Paris Agreement will only accelerate that transition.

Paris: It’s up to us to close the gap between rhetoric and reality

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December 13th 2015

Visual: On December 12th, 2015, world governments meeting in Paris produced a landmark climate agreement. The deal followed two weeks of intense negotiations and waves of global mobilization by the climate movement. While there’s so much this deal leaves undone and so much work still to do, the Paris Agreement does finally send a signal to the world that the age of fossil fuels is over. Now it’s up to us to close the gap between rhetoric and reality. We’re ready.

After Paris: The climate talks end and the movement continues

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Jamie Henn | 350.org - December 12th 2015

Press Clipping: The new climate agreement isn't radical, and it isn’t enough. It's unacceptable that the fossil fuel industry has forced us to wait this long for a global agreement on climate change, especially now that we know companies like Exxon knew their product was fueling climate change 25 years ago. But I still think the Paris agreement gives us a new tool to fight with.

Talking Paris: Whatever happens, we’re already winning

Catherine Abreu | Ecology Action Center - December 11th 2015

Blog Post: I know that whatever the final document says, I and my countless amazing colleagues here in Paris and back home are going to work our butts off to make sure that our home provinces, Canada and the rest of the world do all we need to do to ensure a just transition to a 100 percent renewable energy system by 2050.I know that we are already successful because the transition we seek is well underway and gaining momentum.

NAS study on diluted bitumen spills confirms the need for stricter oversight

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Joshua Axelrod | NRDC - December 9th 2015

Blog Post: The National Academy of Sciences has confirmed that diluted bitumen from Alberta's tar sands differs substantially from other types of oil commonly moved by pipeline across the U.S. These differences can lead to extremely difficult spill response situations where oil that initially floated begins to submerge and finally sink after only a brief period of weathering. On top of this, the NAS also found that our first responders and the various local, state, and federal agencies that respond to oil spills are poorly equipped to deal with spills of diluted bitumen.

WesPac Energy withdraws California oil terminal proposal

Eddie Scher | Forest Ethics - December 9th 2015

Blog Post: On November 16, WesPac Energy formally withdrew its proposed 242,000 barrel-per-day oil storage and transfer facility in Pittsburg, California. The crude oil facility would have included a marine port for oil tankers, more than a dozen oil storage tanks, an oil train offloading terminal, and multiple pipelines to local refineries. “We knew that WesPac was not good for our community and having them as our neighbor would do nothing to make Pittsburg a better place to live” says Kalli Graham, co-founder of the Pittsburg Defense Council."

5 reasons to actually be optimistic about the Paris Climate Conference

John Upton | Grist - December 8th 2015

Press Clipping: Peering closely at the climate talks underway in Paris could be a formula for depression. But, as this year’s historic round of United Nations climate talks enters its crucial closing week with ministers arriving in Paris to take over from their underlings as they try to seal a deal by week’s end, here are five reasons to consider staying upbeat.