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.

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.”

Environmental groups in federal appeal court to oppose Northern Gateway pipeline

Geordon Omand | Globe and Mail - October 6th 2015

Press Clipping: A federal panel tasked with reviewing the Northern Gateway pipeline project failed to take into account the serious threat posed by oil spills and increased tanker traffic to humpback whales, says an environmental lawyer. ForestEthics Advocacy, Living Oceans Society, Raincoast Conservation Foundation and B.C. Nature are part of a Federal Court of Appeal challenge arguing the government erred in granting approval to Calgary-based Enbridge (TSX:ENB) for the controversial, $7-billion megaproject.

After the election, I’m risking arrest


Clayton Thomas Muller | Climate Welcome - October 6th 2015

Blog Post: We’ve been thinking long and hard about how to make the big announcement we’ve been hinting at for the past month. After much consideration, we decided a simple invitation was all we needed. This is an invitation for you to step up. To consider risking arrest in a gentle but serious series of actions designed to welcome the next Prime Minister, whoever he is, by calling on him to change the direction that Canada has been headed. We’re in the midst of an election where no political party with a chance of forming government has a plan to do what scientists say is necessary to meet global climate targets – keep at least 85% of tar sands oil in the ground.

Northern Gateway pipeline court challenge is now underway


October 6th 2015

Press Clipping: Environmental groups say the Northern Gateway pipeline project would pose a serious threat to humpback whales and, if allowed, would set a precedent for future projects. ForestEthics Advocacy, Living Oceans Society, Raincoast Conservation Foundation and BC Nature are part of a Federal Court of Appeal challenge arguing the government erred in granting approval for the controversial, $7.5-billion megaproject.

First Nations inspired by B.C. in battle against Energy East

Mychaylo Prystupa | National Observer - October 4th 2015

Press Clipping: Indigenous leaders from across Canada are forming a new national political alliance to support opposition to TransCanada's Energy East pipeline. The coalition of chiefs hopes to share B.C.'s lessons for thwarting oil sands pipelines with bands from the Prairies and Eastern Canada. Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba First Nations chiefs voted unanimously at a Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs conference on Wednesday in Vancouver to develop strategies to work together to oppose Energy East, which they see as an unacceptable risk to their lands and waterways. A first-of-its kind “Indigenous Treaty” is also in the works to tackle oil sands expansion in general.

Leap Manifesto sets sights on a Green Canada by 2050


Maude Barlow and Andrea Harden-Donahue | Council of Canadians - October 4th 2015

Blog Post: Pope Francis' compelling appeal for bold leadership to act on climate change could not be further from the current Canadian political landscape. Federal leadership on climate change has been absent so long it has become normalized. Enter stage left: the Leap Manifesto. The unprecedented visionary appeal not only outlines 15 demands for real change, but provides tangible regulations and policies to get us there.