Climate delegates told “gracias por nada” in mock pro tar sands message

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On the opening day of the UN climate conference in Cancun, Environmental Defence and the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition launched “Gracias Por Nada,” a campaign by the mock Canadian Alliance of Petroleum Peddlers to thank delegates for doing nothing to tackle global warming.

“We’re using humour to bring attention to a serious issue. Canada needs to get its head out of the sand and stop pandering to dirty oil interests,” said Gillian McEachern of Environmental Defence. “Big oil companies stand to benefit from inaction to tackle global warming, but the rest of us will face an increasingly unstable and dangerous world if we don’t get our act together.”

The “Gracias Por Nada” campaign involves several activities by the Canadian Alliance of Petroleum Peddlers including:

  • A full-page ad in Novedades de Quintana Roo, the largest newspaper in Cancun, urging delegates at the UN climate conference to put their feet up and relax on the beach
  • A beach scene on Parliament Hill where oil executives will demonstrate “doing nothing” in Cancun
  • Distribution of hundreds of t-shirts to delegates in Cancun reading “I came to Cancun to get a climate deal and all I got was this lousy t-shirt”
  • Online ads targeting the Cancun region

“As youth, it’s our future that Canada is gambling with,” said Amber Church of the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition. “We’ve sent a delegation of dozens of youth to push our government to stop protecting the tar sands industry and start investing in a clean energy future.”

Extracting and burning all of the estimated 315 billion barrels of potentially recoverable tar-sands oil would put roughly 183 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, enough to raise the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere by 9-12 parts per million if burned all at once. This is more than 26 years of total US emissions.

If tar sands production expands at the rate predicted by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, tar-sands oil will produce about 2.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each day, and over 800 million tonnes each year by 2025. The tar sands industry would be responsible for more emissions than entire countries like Canada, the UK, Australia and France currently produce.

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