South Africans Challenge Canada on Tar Sands on Occasion of Climate Conference: Full Page ad in Canada’s National Newspaper Asks Canada to Restore its Reputation

By Environmental Defence, PRNE
Tuesday, November 29, 2011

DURBAN, South Africa, November 30, 2011 -

More than a dozen anti-Apartheid and climate leaders from South Africa appear today on a full page ad in Canada’s national newspaper, the Globe and Mail. The ad highlights Canada’s shift from a progressive country on the international stage to one now actively urging other countries to weaken climate policies on behalf of its tar sands industry. Signatories include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Laureate and former Archbishop of Cape Town, Jay Naidoo Minister of Reconstruction and Development in President Mandela’s Cabinet and Zwelinzima Vavi, General Secretary of Congress of South African Trade Unions.

The ad features a two-faced maple leaf, one side proud and red and the other black and dripping with oil. The ad text reads:

Canada, you were once considered a leader on global issues like human rights and environmental protection. Today you’re home to polluting tar sands oil, speeding the dangerous effects of climate change. For us in Africa, climate change is a life and death issue. By dramatically increasing Canada’s global warming pollution, tar sands mining and drilling makes the problem worse, and exposes millions of Africans to more devastating drought and famine today and in the years to come. It’s time to draw the line. We call on Canada to change course and be a leader in clean energy and to support international action to reduce global warming pollution.”

The current Government of Canada has now walked away from its commitments under the Kyoto Protocol, which were ratified by its Parliament in 2002, and it has been reported that Canada will withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol entirely after the UN climate summit. Canada adopted weaker voluntary targets at Copenhagen, but no credible independent expert believes that Canada has a viable plan to meet even those. The tar sands industry is the fastest growing source of global warming pollution in Canada. Over the past few years, Canada has been actively pushing against clean fuels policies like California’s low carbon fuel standard, a federal U.S. low carbon fuel standard, and the EU fuel quality directive. It has strongly supported the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline to the U.S. gulf, which would allow the tar sands to expand.

A new website, was also launched which features videos from African individuals speaking about the impacts of climate change on their lives and calling on Canada and other world leaders to do more. The groups involved include Environmental Defence Canada, Equiterre, Greenpeace Canada, Natural Resources Defense Council, Nobel Women’s Initiative and Sierra Club U.S.

For further information:

Gillian McEachern, Environmental Defence, +1-613-292-4416; 

In Durban: Steven Guilbeault, Equiterre, + 27-74-179-5616


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