Website written by ecologist Dr Henry Adams, Cumbria, UK (member of SLACC-TT).  For topics in my dragonfly1 webspace other than the tar sands click HERE

             An irritating bug is erratically changing font size from being consistent - especially making it smaller & unreadable!  Also, line length refuses to fit window-width :-(

A website for spreading awareness of TAR SANDS and their importance to the environment (to stay in the ground!)

>  >  >  >  >  >  >     JUMP TO "Recent Additions" (= NEWS BLOG)     <  <  <  <  <  <  <
Share photos on twitter with Twitpic "TAR SANDS" here on this website mainly refers to the extensive tar sands of Alberta Canada. However, tar sands also occur widespread elsewhere in the world (e.g. in Venezuala's Orinoco Belt, Madagascar, Congo) and are also under potential threat of exploitation. They comprise a  bitumen-sand-clay-water-mixture from which can be extracted, with high energy costs and high carbon emissions, an unconventional oil often called a "dirty oil". Other unconventional oils with high extraction costs include e.g. shale oil from oil shale (e.g. USA, Russia, Serbia etc...).
There is increasing interest in exploiting such dirty oil reserves due to the start of a decline in production rates from depleting conventional sources. Increasing world demand from emerging economies such as China can potentially push up oil prices* and make such costly extraction methods economically just-about viable - but only if the massive negative externalities can be kept out of the equation. Thus continued capture of governments by oil interests is required to block regulations designed to prevent such 'market failure'. The long-term negative consequences for the planet and its people and wildlife far outweigh the financial benefits to the world's wealthy minority. Clearly, though we need a certain amount of oil, we should be reducing our oil dependence and oil consumption and instead shifting towards low or zero carbon alternatives. [*2014 update: oversupply of US shale oil & lowered demand from "the West" has resulted in a drop in oil prices to below production costs for tar sands oil]

The Tar Sands in Alberta Canada are the third largest oil reserve in the world (after Saudi Arabia and Venezuala), occupying an area larger than England (if not Wales too) - and have huge environmental, social, political and financial impacts and implications that will affect all of us. So why have so few of us in the UK heard of them - despite our money being invested there? This website aims to try and rectify this knowledge vacuum (BBC - isn't that your remit?!); also to facilitate action.

This 5 minute VIDEO by the Co-operative's Toxic Fuels Campaign gives an informative summary. shows photos with brief descriptions.

The most important impacts of the Tar Sands oil industry come under 3 main headings: 1. Ecocide (a crime under proposed international law): due to the extensive loss and damage to habitat, wildlife and environment, including extensive pollution; 2. Huge carbon footprint, from both high emissions* and loss of carbon sinks; 3. Re social justice: the flouting of legal treaty rights of the indigenous peoples, also of their basic human rights for freedom from ill-health and death from industrial causes (e.g. pollution-induced cancers).
*emissions from extraction-production of oil from tar sands are 3 to 5 times higher than for oil from conventional sources [e.g. 4.9x if calculated from Brandt report] (& if expressed "wells-to-wheels" for the combusted fuel end-product i.e. "life-cycle emissions" the emissions are 22 or 23% higher) [calculated from peer-reviewed EU-commissioned report by Brandt].

Oil Sands Reality Check oil sands = industry-preferred name for tar sands.

The 2 page Tar Sands FACT SHEET pdf provides a brief summary, a list of environmental impacts, and a list of links to relevant websites
(on page 2) from which the information was collated. Partly because this FACT SHEET information was mostly collated back in 2010 (and because this website is assembled by just one person with limited spare time!) -

I also strongly recommend you visit the UK TAR SANDS NETWORK (UKTSN) website for the latest news on events, briefings and actions. This website now has excellent information - much more so than when I started my web-site - and thus my website is best seen as being an addition to theirs - providing some extra bits of related information, and letters/emails from Goverment Ministers, MEPs etc showing their positions regarding for example the import of Tar Sands fuel into the UK. UKTSN also on Google+ & Facebook.
Also see People and Planet on tar sands and the excellent The Price of Oil on tar sands (just a few of many tar sands web-pages).

Jess Worth of UK Tar Sands Network gave a very strong campaigning speech on 1st December 2012 in Grosvenor Square which well-summarizes the current tar sands scenario including Canada government's lobbying to get tar sands fuel into the EU: youtube video (12 minutes).

My Tar Sands REFERENCES database - with LINKS
1. Refs & links that are less date-specific - such as websites, books, or introductory or reference articles - just a small selection.
My 2013 Tar Sands links (html)
3. My 2011-2013 Tar Sands links (pdf)
4. My Tar Sands blog below the box below has selected links

For very recent links and today's news first look at tweets by UKTSN and #tarsands tweets

                           Read right column first! >>>

Guardian photo (via link) of Alberta Tar Sands industry that has replaced former boreal forest. Note proximity to river (re pollution risk). Indigenous First Nations people living downstream suffer an abnormally high rate of otherwise scarce pollution-associated cancers.
Contrasting images: photographer Garth Lenz shows beautiful photos of the boreal landscape that is being destroyed in his TED talk.

Guardian pic of Alberta Tar Sands industry


What's in the pipeline? -
Excellent posts on TAR SANDS by OIL CHANGE INTERNATIONAL The Price of Oil
Steve Kretzmann (US) and Lorne Stockman (UK) research and write re the tar sands industry in USA and Canada and its efforts to get tar sands oil transported from Alberta to markets elsewhere such as Europe e.g. via pipelines and Mexican Gulf refineries. Andy Rowell also adds a UK perspective.

They emphasize that the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is primarily for export of tar sands products abroad - such as to the UK and EU. Valero - which owns big refinery on the Texas Gulf Coast - in August 2011 bought Pembroke refinery in the UK and the Texaco-branded outlets here, with the plan to refine tar sands bitumen from KXL then to ship it here.

Also they've brought out great reports eg on petcoke.

UK TAR SANDS NETWORK have vg briefing pdf's on a variety of tar sands topics accessible via their resources web-page, e.g. re "dirty diplomacy" between Canada Big Oil and UK, Valero's plans to bring tar sands fuel to UK and Europe, Shell and its huge expansion plans in the Alberta tar sands, its Arctic risks, its destruction in Nigeria etc., BP, RBS, TOTAL, CETA &FQD, tar sands around the world... [Also: TAR SANDS WORLD]

Other useful sites: DIRTY OIL SANDS for info in America. UK (esp students):
People & Planet on tar sands

FQD continued from foot of column to right:
Next vote: likely to be late 2013 - possibly December(?? - I'm uncertain)  - if so - may possibly be at around same time as (hopefully before) Obama's decision (if he ever makes it!) whether to allow building of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline (middle section).

(In the meantime
a study of the likely impact of the FQD Article 7a proposals on the oil industry is being undertaken for the EU, and more complex assessments of the GHG intensities of the many different types of oil/fuel 'feedstock' are being investigated and calculated by Brandt for California's equivalent of the FQD.)

Early day motion 240 - TAR SANDS AND THE FUEL QUALITY DIRECTIVE - UK Parliament Date tabled: 12jun13    Our MP Tim Farron signed up - Thanks Tim!
Primary sponsor: Lucas, Caroline.  Sponsors: Horwood, Martin Ritchie, Margaret Caton, Martin Durkan, Mark Hancock, Mike
Reply by Tim Farron MP to emails by his constituents Henry Adams and Gwen Harrison re: EDM 240: TAR SANDS AND THE FUEL QUALITY DIRECTIVE - pdf


The threat to climate legislation etc by Free Trade Agreements

CETA - the FTA (Free Trade Agreement) being negotiated between the EU and Canada is a potential "Trojan horse" as its investor-state dispute arbitration clause can easily give corporations an undemocratic legal right to sue a state if its free-trade profits are limited by e.g. environmental restrictions - including legislation - and the FQD might suffer. Canada has already threatened the EU with taking up the FQD with the WTO if its free trade of tar sands products are reduced by the FQD. I was not reassured by a letter from a BIS Minister in response to my emailed concern.

The FTA being negotiated between USA and EU is likely to have the same Trojan Horse problems:  
EU-US trade deal to include 'corporate bill of rights'   EurActiv 26sep13

SEQUEL: Our fears that the FQD might become watered down to ineffectiveness if used as a "bargaining chip" by the EU Commission during the TTIP and CETA negotiations became a reality: see my entries for 2014 in my news blog below, and/or try this short ref: CETA: Canadian deal weakened key EU regulation.


Update from Alberta (22april15):

Melina Laboucan-Massimo, a member of the Lubicon Cree First Nation, provides an excellent 22april15 update here from her first hand experience:
'Awaiting justice Indigenous resistance in the tar sands of Canada'  in openDemocracy.
The tar sands industry aims to double it's production by 2020 and treble it by 2035 - but to make this financially viable it needs pipelines to reach the coast for export to e.g. China and Europe.  Thus we need to keep the Tar Sands industry land-locked to restrict its expansion for exporting world-wide. MAP of pipeline routes. (This motive to export tar sands products is now increasing not just due to lowering of its value where it is held up and accumulating (mid-USA) but also as it now faces growing competition within its present main market - USA - due to increasing oil production from shale in USA. Hard luck PM Harper - USA is no longer dependent on tar sands oil!)

1. Below the photo (<<) is
'Shock Doctrine' author Naomi Klein's punchy informative short animation on the need to stop TransCanada's proposed Keystone XL pipeline from accelerating Tar Sands destruction and emissions. 2. And here is a c.1 minute video showing wildlife and habitats under threat if Enbridge's Northern Gateway tar sands pipeline is built to connect Westwards towards the Pacific (for export of bitumen to China etc). RBS is underwriting this with our money! Map showing pipeline routes. (Also MAP & MAP). There is also a plan ("Energy East") to connect the tar sands by pipeline Eastwards to the Atlantic - to enable its dirty products to get to Europe.

2013 & 2014: we are still awaiting Obama (& Kerry)'s big decision as to whether to allow building of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline (middle section), which - if completed - will connect the Alberta tar sands to the Texas Gulf Coast refineries, and will not just allow big expansion of tar sands production, but will be a signal of 'business as usual' to the oil industry, to disregard climate impacts. Keystone XL would have a "massive impact on carbon pollution": 

FAIL: HOW THE KEYSTONE XL TAR SANDS PIPELINE FLUNKS THE CLIMATE TEST’ Authors: Kate Colarulli, Doug Hayes, Courtenay Lewis, Sierra Club & Lorne Stockman, David Turnbull, Oil Change International. c.August 2013.
2014: Obama is still putting off the decision - but he's giving increasing signals of his dislike for the pipeline and its climate (and other) consequences.

Carbon bomb or carbon bubble: The proposed tar sands expansion is incompatible with keeping within the 2 degrees C climate change target - it would result in a planned production rate nearer 3 times the target in the IEA model (International Energy Agency) - [put simply: to stay within 2 degrees no more than a third of global fossil fuel reserves can be burnt before 2050]. "Alberta has already approved far more oil sands production than the world will want according to the International Energy Agency (IEA)."  Marc Huot's assessment - Pembina Institute.  - Canada's climate legacy?   [More on carbon bubble - by Carbon Tracker]
Thus we need to limit this expansion, and here's one way:

EU's Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) - includes important climate change legislation (Article 7a) which urgently needs implementation to restrict future imports of high-emissions fuels such as from tar sands. But parts of the UK government are supporting tar sands investment under pressure from Canada's Harper government and the oil industry (e.g. via The Energy Roundtable) and are delaying (and potentially derailing) implementation of an effective Article 7a (e.g. Euractiv ref. & UKTSN ref below).

The FQD's Article 7a obliges transport fuel suppliers to reduce lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions (as 'intensity': gCO2/MJ) from transport fuel by 6% by 2020 (relative to 2010) [7a methodology consultation].

T&E state: "Transport is almost entirely dependent on oil: it emits 31% of the EU’s total CO2 emissions and will become the biggest source of climate-changing emissions soon after 2020. The FQD is a key law to promote cleaner transport fuels and is part of the EU's wider goals to cut carbon emissions by 20 percent by 2020."

Prior to a U-turn in 2013/14 the EU Commission had agreed to assigning higher default value intensities to tar sands fuel and other high emissions fuels as compared with fuels from conventional oils (according to a peer-reviewed study by Brandt: 22% or 23% higher for tar sands fuels [107g vs 87.5g, or 107.3 vs 87.1g]). But the tar sands industry and Canada's Harper government have been lobbying hard in objection to this distinction, and persuaded the UK government to echo some of their false or misleading assertions.  As a result of the pro-oil lobbying an effective Article 7a is yet to be agreed to by EU member states for implementation, and UK's DfT are favouring a more complex alternative which might cause more delay (though the EU proposal allows for future improvements when/if implemented). In the meantime the Southern section of the KXL pipeline for getting tar sands products to the Atlantic is being built (though facing much protest).

UKTSN summarize this 'Dirty diplomacy: tar sands lobbying and the Fuel Quality Directive'.

Transport & Environment explain the Fuel Quality Directive in 'Reducing transport fuel emissions - Implementing the FQD' and also a background overview web-page. They have also produced a 4-page pdf on the FQD.
The PEMBINA Institute have also produced a useful pdf on the FQD (22feb12): 'Reducing greenhouse gas emissions through transportation fuel policy - The European Union’s proposed fuel-quality directive and implications for Canadian oilsands producers'. March2012 sequel. Re tar sands emissions - Nov2012.

Re the FQD this is well worth reading: (Dec'11 web-page on People and Planet's website) 'NGOs respond to Norman Baker's tar sands claims' (the NGOs being P&P, UKTSN, WDM, and Platform London - with the additional help of Lush Cosmetics.). P&P on tar sands - well worth looking up.

Local lobbying of the Libdems to support an urgent effective FQD

Tim Farron
- our local MP and LibDem President has expressed to us his disapproval of the tar sands industry and has been continually briefed on tar sands facts and news (eg THIS), including in numerous surgery meetings (with myself, sometimes accompanied by another member of our local climate group SLACC). GOOD NEWS from Tim on 21jun13 (see my news posting below in 'NEWS blog'). Back in 2011 we requested he write an open letter to Norman Baker to try and persuade him to support a UK vote FOR implementing the EU Commissioners' proposals for the Fuel Quality Directive at the EU Member States meeting on the FQD - which will restrict import of very high emissions fuels including from tar sands.
Though he did not appear to write his own views (to my knowledge) he did instead write a covering letter forwarding my letter but without expressing his own opinion (such as by endorsing my letter). Please try and persuade him to take up this matter in a stronger way designed to be more effective by for example emailing him or tweeting him @TimFarron. Tim has a good reputation for working hard for his constituents, especially on local issues, though appears somewhat reluctant as yet to take up this particular matter in a higher profile way - though I understand has brought it up with his colleagues. He is very busy on many matters for his constituents - so it would be great if more constituents could support this issue to up its priority.

Chris Davies MEP (LibDem, NW England) has written in support of the FQD (eg in LibDem Voice). So too Catherine Bearder MEP in a letter to Norman Baker. But LibDem MPs appear to be comparatively reticent on this.

On 20jan12 (still very relevant a year on) I uploaded a pdf of my criticism of Norman Baker's words re the FQD: It comments on DfT Minister Norman Baker's 2dec11 piece on the Fuel Quality Directive in Liberal Democrat Voice. I had emailed this in December 2011 to Tim Farron MP (& copied to Simon Hughes MP).

29jan12 I wrote an article (here in pdf form of 31jan12) giving an update on tar sands and the FQD for the SLACCtt website blog.

In Feb2012 OccupyLSX's Energy, Equity and Environment Group demonstrate re the Tar Sands and FQD outside LibDem HQ. Photos here - include printouts of the poster/banner I produced on this website in Spring 2010!

NB: On 23rd February 2012 EU member states met to vote on the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD), resulting in stalemate (UK [Norman Baker] abstaining, see below). Darek Urbaniak of FoE Europe summarizes the scenario we are now at re the FQD and the impacts of tar sands industry expansion on the world: 'Tar sands - a threat to Europe, Africa and the world' (2mar12) in Public Service Europe.

FQD cont. in column to left

Our local Ambleside photographer Ashley Cooper has taken numerous photos in the Alberta tar sands area (Click 'Canadian Tar Sands' under 'Categories' in his website: Global Warming Images).

   Recent additions (NEWS BLOG):     (last website addition: 22jan17 - I'm now only adding some of the biggest news).

NB: Also see UK Tar Sands Network's website and tweets
the excellent The Price of Oil on tar sands, TSS - Tar Sands Solutions network (& subscribe to their 'The Dirt' weekly review), EcoWatch on Keystone XL, and desmogblog & DeSmog Canada,
Here in its 31st December 2014 posting The Dirt gives 13 reasons why in 2014 "we are winning the fight" in the USA and Canada against the tar sands industry (lists actions in 2014).

17feb17 Energy Companies Face Crude Reality: Better to Leave It in the Ground - WSJ. E3G ‏@e3g tweet: "More than 17 #oil sands projects, representing about 2.5 million barrels a day of production, cancelled or delayed".

15feb17 CETA passed by a majority of MEPs in plenary session of European Parliament today:
Europe Pushes Ahead with Controversial Canadian Trade Deal, Opens Door for Tar Sands – Christine Ottery - DeSmog UK.
Mark Dearn of War on Want, summarizes how Canada lobbied for weakening of climate legislation in the FQD during CETA negotiation period (also logged over the years on the present web-page): Critical vote looms on Canada trade deal which forced tar sands on Europe - War On Want on 11jan17.

24jan17 Trump orders revival of Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines - The Guardian, Resurrection of Keystone and DAPL cements America's climate antagonism - Oliver Milman in NY - The Guardian, How Keystone XL and Dakota Access went from opposition to resurrection - Tom McCarthy, The Guardian.
20jan17 (Friday) Trump inaugurated as US President today. Over subsequent days climate change info removed from US gov websites and scientists to be gagged e.g. 25jan17 sequel re EPA on Reuters: Trump administration tells EPA to cut climate page from website.

20jan17 New Tar Sands Pipelines Are Incompatible With Paris Climate Goals "New research released Thursday reveals disturbing new evidence on how locking-into new long-lived tar sands production undermines global efforts to address the global climate crisis far beyond Canada's borders.
"Trudeau's pipeline decisions will lead directly to suffering, displacement and even death for vulnerable people around the world due to impacts of a warming world," said Saleemul Huq, senior fellow of the International Institute for Environment and Development in Bangladesh. "People who have contributed least to this global crisis will pay the highest price for Canada's efforts to dig up and export more oil in the midst of a global crisis."
The analysis from Oil Change International finds that ...""

19jan17 Climate on the Line: Why New Tar Sands Pipelines Are Incompatible With the Paris Goals - New Report by Oil Change International. Web-page links to pdf of the new report by Adam Scott & Greg Muttitt. "New analysis finds that Canada will be the world’s second highest contributor of new oil production globally over the next twenty years if action isn’t taken to halt new tar sands pipelines and production growth. Once extracted, much of this oil will be burned, pushing global temperature limits over the brink.  Cumulative emissions from producing and burning Canadian oil would use up 16% of the world’s carbon budget to keep temperatures below 1.5 degrees, or 7% of the budget for 2 degrees. Canada has less than 0.5% of the world’s population.  Scientists have found that to have a likely (2 in 3) chance of keeping warming below 2C, global emissions must be halved within little more than 20 years. To keep warming to 1.5C, emissions must be halved in about 15 years. New pipelines and tar sands projects are designed to last 40 to 50 years. It’s extremely difficult to shut down projects early, once investments have been made.  There’s no credible pathway to achieving the Paris goals if Canada expands fossil fuel production to the levels that are forecasted."

19jan17 Expanding Tar Sands Will Kill Paris Targets and Climate Stability, Report Finds - Andrew Nikiforuk in The Tyee - "Pipeline approvals ‘make the goals impossible to reach,’ finds Oil Change International", "Canada can’t increase tar sands production or build more pipelines if the world is to achieve the targets on global carbon emissions set by the Paris Agreement on climate. That’s the central conclusion of a new report by Oil Change International (OCI), a U.S. research and advocacy group dedicated to exposing the full costs of fossil fuel extraction.
“There is no scenario in which tar sands production increases and the world achieves the Paris goals,” says the report. ...".

CETA timeline: 12jan17 & 24jan17 - voting by committees of MEPs on environment/food safety etc and on trade respectively, before plenary vote by MEPs on 14mar17.
12jan17 European Lawmakers Vote to Pursue Tar Sands Oil Friendly Trade Deal with Canada - Mat Hope in DeSmog UK. Refers for example to Mark Dearn's article:
11jan17 Ecologist Special Report: Impending vote on the Canada trade deal which forced tar sands on Europe - Mark Dearn of War on Want in The Ecologist.
             See my pdf on CETA references for more info.

22dec16 Trudeau Touts Trump's Support for Keystone XL, Would Bring Exxon's Carbon-Intensive Tar Sands Oil Across the Border - Steve Horn - Ecowatch & Desmogblog. "At a speech given to the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he intends to work with President-elect Donald Trump to approve the northern leg of TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline.  The speech comes as Trump revealed in a recent interview with Fox News that one of the first things he intends to do in office is grant permits for both Keystone XL and the perhaps equally controversial Dakota Access pipeline. Because Keystone XL North crosses the U.S.-Canada border, current processes require it to obtain a presidential permit from the U.S.Department of State, which the Obama administration has denied. ..." and Rex Tillerson CEO of ExxonMobil is to be Secretary of State i.e. of the State Department under Trump as President.

Trudeau gives the go-ahead to tar sands pipeline proposals:

30nov16 Tar sand pipelines batter Canada's climate leader tag -  - Climate Home - climate change news.
29nov16 Federal Liberals Approval of Kinder Morgan Is Final Nail in the Coffin of ‘Reconciliation’ - James Wilt - DeSmog Canada. "The federal Liberals have issued an approval for the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline project, subject to 157 conditions. ... And it completely undermines any alleged commitment to “reconciliation” with Indigenous peoples. ..." More on this pipeline.
29nov16 Trudeau Just Sacrificed BC for Big Oil - Judith Sayers - The Tyee

24nov16 Opinion: Trudeau's carbon tsunami by the numbers - National Observer - by Barry Saxifrage who constructs charts to help visualize climate change, carbon, CO2. Thus good charts e.g. 'TRUDEAU'S CO2 SCORECARD'. Barry Saxifrage at and

Autumn 2016 2 page pdf: The strong case against separate corporate court systems (ICS/ISDS),  (with links to excellent recent reports)
By Henry Adams – Autumn 2016 – especially FAO Tim Farron MP and the LibDems
"We can’t let big US oil and fracking firms have an ICS/ISDS in CETA to undermine climate legislation. ..."

17apr16 RBS ends financing the tar sands RBS pulls back fossil fuel investments as green deals grow - Damian Carrington, The Guardian.

IMPORTANT BAD NEWS:    The US 40 year ban on crude oil exports from the US is being lifted, as a "rider" in part of a multi-issue "deal" between oil-funded Republicans (& ?Democrats in oil states) and Democrats/Obama. And it looks like Obama will sign up to it. As a high % of tar sands bitumen is refined in the US, this news I've been dreading (but sickeningly pushed for by the EU Commission with regards TTIP negotiations).
16dec15 Dirty deal lubricates the path to oil exports
- Oil Change InternationalOil Change International - Greg Muttitt
17dec15 Lifting the Crude Oil Export Ban: Supply Side and Climate Commonsense - Oil Change International - Lorne Stockman.

8dec15 Tar sands alarm as US crude exports to Europe rise - Arthur Neslen - The Guardian "US crude exports to Europe increase by 73% in less than a year, sparking fears that ‘flood gates’ may be being opened to tar sands".

COP21: November-December 2015: TTIP and CETA work in opposition to what little might be achieved at the COP21 climate talks. Here are 3 of a number of 2015 articles on this topic:
27nov15 EU-US trade deal will unleash oil sands and fatally undermine climate efforts - Mark Dearn of War on Want - Global development - The Guardian.
3jul15 TTIP aim to lift US oil export ban goes against climate targets - Sam Lowe of FoE - Environment - The Guardian.
22jan15 TTIP, CETA, ISDS and CLIMATE CHANGE - The impact of “Free Trade Agreements” such as TTIP and CETA on climate change - Henry Adams - my submission to the EAC of MPs.

25nov15 Two thirds of European oil refineries ready for tar sands imports - by James Crisp in EurActiv, referring to a study commissioned by Transport & Environment and Friends of the Earth Europe.

More good news: 23nov15 Another Historic Day in the Battle to Stop the Tar Sands - Mike Hudema, Greenpeace: "Today people slowed the beast again but this time we did it at the source.   After a string of pipeline victories and over a decade of campaigning on at least three different continents, the Alberta government has finally put a limit to the tar sands. Today they announced they will cap its expansion and limit the tar sands monster to 100 megatons a year (equivalent to what projects already operating and those currently under construction would produce).   As momentous an occasion as it is when an oil jurisdiction actually puts limits on growth, 100 million tons of carbon a year at a time when science is demanding bold reductions is still far too much. While historic, the government’s cap needs to be viewed as a ceiling rather then a floor and a ceiling that we will need to work like crazy to ratchet down until it meets the science.   On the good side what the current cap does mean is that the two-to-five fold expansion the tar sands industry had planned will not happen. ..."

GREAT NEWS! 6nov15 President Obama announces that he agrees with the decision of the State Department to reject the Keystone XL pipeline!  - At last!!
Obama announced that the pipeline would not serve US national interests because 1. would not contribute long-term to the economy, 2. would not lower gas [petrol/diesel] prices for US consumers, 3. would not increase US energy security... "clean power from the wind and sun is cheaper than the dirty alternative  Canada's new Liberal President - Trudeau expressed his disappointment. Video of his full announcement. Some of his words: "America is leading on climate change by... ..America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change, and frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership. That's the biggest risk we take. Not acting." Then referred to upcoming Paris climate summit. ... "If we want to prevent the worst worst effects of climate change, the time to act is now, not later, not some day, right here, right now. ...". Lets hope the Republicans don't win the next US Presidential election - as they might(?) reverse Obama's decision. Greg Muttitt et al.'s report - (see 27oct15 posting below) showed that blocking new pipelines constricts expansion of the tar sands industry, and shows why today's decision is a meaningful victory, as well as being a symbolic banner just ahead of COP21.
6nov15 Obama rejects Keystone XL pipeline in victory for environmental activists - Suzanne Goldenberg & Dan Roberts - The Guardian.

Great news re Shell halting its Carmon Creek tar sands project, and predicted by Greg Muttitt's report for Oil Change International The Price of Oil, which was published just hours before:
28oct15 Alberta oilsands downturn has U.S. environmental groups celebrating - Calgary - CBC News.
28oct15 Shell halts Carmon Creek oil sands project in Alberta, Canada  Business The Guardian.
28oct15 Shell takes $2bn charge on Canada oil sands project - Ed Crooks in New York FT.
27oct15 Shell to halt Carmon Creek in situ project - Shell Global.
27oct15 Lockdown: the end of growth in the tar sands - Hannah McKinnon - Oil Change International. & - from which you can download the report of the same name by Greg Muttitt et al.

Great news: Stephen Harper & his Conservative government ousted!
20oct15 Justin Trudeau elected new Canadian prime minister as Liberals return to power - The Guardian.
19oct15 What Your New Liberal Majority Government Means for Climate, Environment, Science and Transparency - Carol Linnitt - DeSmog Canada.

25may15 BP and the tar sands, and links to UK government: BP's "Big capital expenditure (capex) milestone: Sunrise, Canada" see section in 'Oil company bosses' bonuses linked to $1tn spending on extracting fossil fuels' by Simon Bowers & Harry Davies in The Guardian. And combine this with: 'Revealed BP's close ties with the UK government' by Felicity Lawrence and Harry Davies 20may15, shows part of how UK gov is linked to tar sands via BP.

6may15 Almost unbelievable good news: 'Canada's political landscape undergoes seismic shift with election in Alberta' - John Barber in Toronto. "Once-marginal New Democratic Party sweeps to victory over conservatives in setback for prime minister Stephen Harper’s Keystone XL pipeline efforts" Rachel Notley wins election held on Tuesday 5th May, displacing over 4 decades of Tory rule in Alberta!     Financial Post: 'How Alberta’s NDP election victory could spark a stock selloff and stall investment in the oil patch'.

22apr15 'Awaiting justice Indigenous resistance in the tar sands of Canada' by Melina Laboucan-Massimo, a member of the Lubicon Cree First Nation, - provides an excellent 22april15 update from her first hand experience. openDemocracy.

24feb15 'Shell shelves plan for tar sands project in face of low oil prices' Damian Carrington & agencies, The Guardian. "Withdrawal from the Pierre River project is the latest in a series of blows to industry reliant on high cost production struggling with oil prices at six-year lows". And in Canada's Globe and Mail: 'Shell pulls plug on long-delayed Alberta oil sands mine'. Reuters: 'UPDATE 1-Cash flows from Canada oil sands to fall by $23 bln in 2 yrs'

24feb15 President Obama vetoes the Keystone XL bill but has yet to reject the Keystone XL altogether.

20feb15 'New hopes that tar sands could be banned from Europe' [but not in the near future] by Arthur Neslen in Brussels, Guardian. Note: US during TTIP negotiations had persuaded Barroso/EU Commission to end the FQD post 2020 (the FQD appeared to have been treated as a "bargaining chip" in the TTIP negotiations). There is now hope that the FQD will be continued post 2020 (the FQD tackles the only sector of emissions within Europe that is increasing - and towards being the highest emitting sector unless tackled).

feb15 The Environment Audit Committee (a Parliamentary Select Committee of MPs) in its collation of evidence on TTIP environmental impacts has published my submission on the 'impact of TTIP, CETA and ISDS on restricting our ability to tackle climate change by democratic means' (e.g. by regulations on trade investment in high carbon life-cycle fuels). This submission uses the tar sands and Fuel Quality Directive as an example of how "free trade" principles have been successfully used by tar sands industry supporters/lobbyists, including Canada and US governments, to dilute the FQD to ineffectiveness (my submission is much the same as my poster display at the SGR conference {linked to below}, due to shortage of time to write something better). TTIP an CETA will increase the legal primacy of free trade principles over the need to act on climate change by regulating the fossil fuel industry (my direct discussion with Jacqueline Minor of the EU Commission London office confirmed this statement). Also see submission by FoE on the EAC website.

7&8jan15 Oil sands must remain largely unexploited to meet climate target, study finds - The Globe and Mail - on Unversity College London's study published in Nature on what fossil fuels must remain in the ground.

As I've been focusing in 2013 and 2014 successively on #2030decarb target for the #EnergyBill, then #Fracking (links on my hub page), and now #TTIP, #CETA and #ISDS, and as UKTSN's news coverage is excellent and comprehensive, I am only occasionally posting news here. Links to articles that have caught my attention I add to my list of LINKS to 2013 TAR SANDS news articles (< but often lags behind events; no updates yet in 2014) and my CanadaFirstNationsVsTarSands.html page (< but lags too; ditto). I hope to return to working on tar sands more fully in the future. My present work (2014), which largely focuses on the EU-US and EU-Canada free trade and investment agreements (now under negotiation and/or debate) has an important tar sands - FQD aspect: see my text here on this:

2014 'The negative impacts of TTIP, CETA, ISDS, on our ability via democratic means to tackle climate change, fracking and tar sands with legislation, regulation or policy' - by me. From which I copy: "... Pressure from US "Big Oil" interests in the TTIP negotiations has "put the boot in" on EU climate legislation designed to reduce the rising EU transport emissions (transport emissions are important in being en route to being the largest emitting sector in the EU). This 15apr14 article by EurActiv 'The tar sands mystery and the smoking TTIP gun' tries to reveal the secretive dirty dealing with oil interests (and assisted by UK e.g. Euractiv 29nov11) that has scuppered the FQD legislation. ...". I've also made into a pdf a poster display I showed at a Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR) conference: summarizing the impact of TTIP, CETA and the ISDS on climate change and our ability to tackle it via democratic processes.

RESULTS of the 17dec14 vote on the FQD by MEPs in the EU Parliament plenary session: my write-up here (the upper part of it is part of my submission for the SLACCtt newsletter for January 2015).

ACTION: 17dec14 is date for EU Parliament plenary vote on the FQD. Please write to your MEPs to vote against the diluted version of the FQD agreed to by EU Commission under pressure from oil interests during the TTIP and CETA negotiations. I have provided a template letter to make this easy: which can be copied, personalized and pasted into

15dec14 'MEPs debate tar sands rules' BBC Democracy Live (video + text) "MEPs continued the proceedings of the opening day of December's plenary session on 15 December 2014.  The session saw a debate on controversial proposals, announced by the European Commission two months ago, to abandon rules which would label tar sands oil a "highly polluting" type of fuel." Only the first 45 minutes of the video are on this issue (unless there's a return to it later in the 2+hours long recording). Catherine Bearder MEP (LibDem SE) spoke up against the Commission proposal for a diluted FQD that does not differentiate tar sands from conventional feedstocks ignoring its own commissioned scientific report, whereas Girling MEP (Conservative) spoke up for the Commission's proposal. A "Madame ?Reed"  (UKIP?? she sounded ignorant enough to be UKIP) made the absurd statement that climate change measures that Greens support are bad for poor working people.

4dec14: 'Harper seeks to derail Fuel Quality Directive in European Parliament vote on Dec. 16'   The Council of Canadians.
Good news:
3dec14 'MEPs’ rejection of weak fuel quality rules sends strong signal for post-2020 cleaner fuels plan'   Transport & Environment.
3dec13 'Canadian officials downplay EU vote on labelling oilsands dirty'   Financial Post.html
3dec14 'EU vote puts Canadian dirty-oil label back on the agenda' - The Globe and Mail, Canada.
3dec14 'EU vote puts Canadian tar sands label back on the agenda' - Barbara Lewis in Reuters.
3dec14 'MEPs back Tar Sands objection' - ALDE press release. LibDems e.g. Catherine Bearder MEP SE England.
3dec14 'Tar sands oil - MEPs reject plans to ease way for tar sands oil in Europe' - The Greens   European Free Alliance.

CETA: Canadian deal weakened key EU regulation - Yannick Jadot MEP, INTA Committee Vice-Chair, European Parliament.
25sep14 'Oh Canada! CETA killed off the FQD' - The Greens in Europe on TTIP.

17jul14 'Dirty deals oil lobbyists push tar sands on EuropeFriends of the Earth Europe "
The United States and Canadian governments are using ongoing trade talks to push the European Union to allow devastating tar sands unfettered access to its market, according to a new report out today."
July 2014 Dirty Deals: How trade talks threaten to undermine EU climate policies and bring tar sands to Europe - pdf:  - written for FoEE

19jun14 'FQD - an oily tunnel. But will there be light at the end?'    EurActiv

6jun14 TarSandsFreeEurope @TarSandsFreeEU tweet: 1st #tarsands shipment arrived in Europe + #FQD apparently weakened: @EU_Commission #fail to protect us from #climatechange & dirty energy.
6jun14 My tweets:
   'EU proposal scraps mandatory 'dirty' label for tar sands' BigOil allowed2use false value4 #tarsands now #FQD diluted
   EU's climate legislation in FQD explained  & impact of trade agreements on climate legislation:
   .@timfarron There's another lesson to be learnt from the dilution of #FQD. EU cannot be trusted not tobuckleto BigOil re #TTIP #CETA & #ISDS
   .@timfarron @NormanBakerMP delayed implementation of #FQD ignoring its vulnerabilityto lobbying Now FQD diluted #fail
   .@timfarron EU buckle under lobbying & dilute FQD, despite transport C-emissions 25%&rising of EU total. See prevT's. LD's proud of N.Baker?
   25%&rising of EU C-emissions come from transport. EU now dilute #FQD legislation designed to reduce it. See prevT's &
6jun14 'EU to soften fuel quality rules, possibly reducing penalties on oilsands products'   Metro. "A story on the Financial Times website quotes EU parliamentarian Chris Davies as saying EU climate action commissioner Connie Hedegaard was outvoted by industrial and trade officials on the commission."

6jun14 'Canada poised to dilute EU rules over tar sands oil' -, by Christian Oliver in Brussels & Ed Crooks in New York. "... The EU debate over its policy on oil sands has also been influenced by negotiations for two transatlantic trade deals that have risen up the bloc’s agenda.  An EU-Canada trade deal was agreed politically in October, but has not been concluded. Talks have also begun on a US-EU deal, and Michael Froman, the US trade representative, has backed efforts by US refiners, and others, to win greater influence over how the EU’s proposed fuel rules are made in Brussels. ..." Froman also says he'd like to see wider stakeholder participation in the TTIP process. Colin Baines tweets: "EU #tarsands ban removed from #FQD following US lobbying, oil company carbon reporting by source survives". Comment by Council of Canadians in tweet: "Points to influence of #CETA and #TTIP".
6jun14 'EU Buckles to Brutal Canadian Lobbying Over the Tar Sands' Andy Rowell, Oil Change International.
6jun14 'First major tar sands oil shipment arrives in Europe amid protests' Kassam & Vaughan, The Guardian. "570,000 barrels of oil from Canada arrives in Bilbao, Spain, as EU considers dropping plan to label tar sands oil as dirty".
5jun14 'Oil sands score win in Europe as EU removes key hurdle' - The Globe and Mail.
PM Stephen Harper has been promoting tar sands products as a secure alternative to fuel from Russia, and Canada's Natural Resources Minister has recently raised the FQD in G7 Energy Ministers talks in Rome last month. We need the FQD to be effective ASAP to discourage pipeline building such as KXL and: "TransCanada Corp. is proposing the $12-billion Energy East pipeline to Saint John, N.B., from Alberta, which could result in exports of both crude and refined products."
5jun14 'EU proposal scraps mandatory 'dirty' label for tar sands'   Reuters. '... The European Commission draft document seen by Reuters proposes that oil refiners would only have to report an EU-wide average of the emissions for the feedstock they use.    The proposed methodology requires suppliers to report a (European) Union average greenhouse gas emission intensity per fuel with an option to report supplier specific values," the draft says.    In an annex, it retains the value of 107 grams of CO2 for natural bitumen, another name for tar sands, compared with 93.2 for conventional crude, but refiners would not have to report using crudes with the higher value.     However, the draft proposes a review by the end of 2016 to again address the case for introducing higher values for individual fuel sources. ...'.
2jun14 'First tar sands shipment to Europe sparks protests   EurActiv "... The 600,000 barrels of Western Canada Select (WCS) heavy blend crude, is beingshipped by the Spanish oil company Repsol to the port of Bilbao, from where it will be taken to a nearby refinery in a heavily-populated area.  Europe currently imports around 4,000 barrels per day (bpd) of tar sands, but studies suggest that could rocket to 700,000 bpd by 2020, due to the planned Keystone XL pipeline linking Alberta’s tar sandsfields to Texas. ...". And it's not just the extra carbon emissions: "In other parts of the world, tar sands refining facilities have been linked to increased cancer incidences near plants, and also to respiratory ailments such as asthma, cardiovascular illness, heart attacks, lung dysfunction and even prematuredeath. [
Tar sands pollution of air and water.]" << NB: the whole article should be read, as it relates this event and its context to the FQD.
NRDC's 'The Tar Sands Threat to Europe: How Canadian Industry Plans Could Undermine Europe’s Climate Goals' January 2014 Natural Resources Defense Council. 

This shows the urgency for implementation of the FQD, before infrastructure and associated investments get 'locked-in':
22may14 'Europe to receive its first shipment of Canadian tar sands' by Sophie Yeo RTCC "Arrival of tar sands in Spain next week will raise fears that Europe will provide new market for polluting fuel" <<< brief and well worth reading - a great summary.

16apr14 'Canada becoming launch-pad of a global tar sands and oil shale frenzyMartin Lukacs The Guardian.


Please sign petition v Enbridge's proposed Northern Gateway pipeline and tanker route through beautiful part of British Columbia HERE

Nov2013 FQD: Pdf of letter from DfT Minister Baroness Kramer (with covering letter by Tim Farron MP) in response to my letter to her re the FQD and the tar sands, EDM 240 (which Tim Farron signed up to) and the letters from Nobel Laureates, all re the same subject. This post is a sequel to my 18oct13 post below. To say that Susan Kramer's letter is disappointing would be an extreme understatement. I will be writing my response to her as soon as I have the time and recover from illness, and will post it here and elsewhere.

22nov13 Toxic Lakes From Tar-Sand Projects Planned for Alberta - Bloomberg "play Russian roulette with toxic water"

19nov13 The ‘Felt Impacts of the Tar Sands’ artwork unveiled at the Canada Europe Energy Summit - No Tar Sands - UK Tar Sands Network
19nov13 EU’s targeting of oil sands could have spillover effect on Keystone XL  Oliver - 19nov13 The Globe and Mail - Same old pack of lies by Canada's Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver, now with additional lies - about fracking.

13nov13 First Nation children heavily contaminated with banned chemicals "Mothers also exposed to PCBs, pesticides, and heavy metals"  On First Nation Issues, Events, And Environmental Issues On The West Coast And World Events.
13nov13 Canada reveals climate stance with praise for Australian carbon tax repeal   Suzanne Goldenberg re Harper gov

23oct13 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  Another Project approval raises further questions in Alberta’s motive to stop at nothing to develop in the region   Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation and the Tar Sands 

 Canada's Information Commissioner Has Confirmed That Her Office Will Investigate Allegations That the Federal Government Is Muzzling Its Scientists - Video Dailymotion

21oct13 Oxford is saying no to Shell’s whitewashing - Tar-Free Towns Oxford, Ruthi Brandt

18oct13 I emailed this letter (pdf) to Tim Farron MP and to the new Minister of State for the DfT Baroness Susan Kramer who has now take over the remit held by Norman Baker for making the UK decision over the EU FQD. It refers to the Nobel Laureates letters and the EDM240 and this excellent briefing statement by the UKTSN: Some advice for the new minister for tar sands - Keep Tar Sands Out of Europe  and here. 29oct13 sequel: Copy of 29oct13 letter from Tim Farron MP to Baroness Kramer as covering letter to my letter of 18oct13. 

7oct13 The Tyee – Next Oil Sands Threat: Caprock Integrity  Risks of steam-assisted bitumen recovery are too little discussed, experts say. By Andrew Nikiforuk

7oct13 c.lunch-time: Norman Baker gets "shuffled" to the Home Office and is replaced by
7oct13  My email letter (pdf) to Tim Farron, Nick Clegg and Norman Baker urging they heed letter by 21 Nobel laureates in support of the FQD climate legislation.
7oct13 (Monday) 'Idle No More' Global Day of Action for Indigenous Sovereignty. I'm emailing letter(s) to Tim Farron, Nick Clegg & Norman Baker, to be published...
3oct13 21 Nobel laureates press EU leaders to classify tar sands as high carbon  from Reuters in
3oct13 21 Nobel laureates press EU leaders on tar sands law   Reuters
3oct13 21 Nobel peace and science laureates calling for EU action on tar sands – Nobel Women's Initiative     - I'll be responding to this on Monday7oct13 Global Day of Action

4oct13 Beware Our Bitumen Salesmen - Comments - The Ecologist

3to4oct13 EU tar sands law would cost oil firms ‘less than a euro cent a litre’   EurActiv

3oct13 (Thursday) In London: 3 interesting speakers - see UKTSN website re this. I wish I could have attended but had to attend an anti-fracking meeting in Kendal.
             First Nations leader in London to fight Canada’s lobbying onslaught -  Keep Tar Sands Out of Europe

Please visit new website: KEEP TAR SANDS OUT OF EUROPE - Support the FQD  Email your MP to sign EDM that urges UK gov to support the labelling of tar sands fuel by the FQD as having higher life-cycle emissions than conventional fuel. There is a link to a template email by P&P. Tim Farron MP has already signed this EDM.

25sep13 Michael Froman, the US Trade Representative in charge of negotiating a variety of secretive "free trade" agreements, is apparently siding with Big Oil in demanding that Europe weaken its climate laws. 'Tell Obama's Trade Rep to stop paving the way for Keystone XL' - Oil Change International. It's possible to fill in US zip code boxes by typing 123456789. Modify start of template letter to say you are from UK and don't want tar sands diesel coming here so expanding market consumption and increasing climate change. Also try tweeting similar to:
@USTradeRep DO NOT INTERFERE with EU #FQD climate law. We in UK are watching you @BarackObama @NoTarSands … #NoKXL
I demand @USTradeRep stop paving the way for #KeystoneXL by weakening EU's climate laws  @priceofoil #nokxl #tarsands

6sep13 Yet more fascinating tar sands / pipeline /corruption articles in 'The Dirt' weekly - also on TSS - Tar Sands Solutions network. Wish I had time to read them - but my spare time is full up now with lobbying work etc on UK's 'Lobbying Bill' aka 'gagging bill' in relation to fracking etc. I'm hoping to witness a breakthrough soon, which might have a 'knock-on effect against tar sands industry. It's Ministers with current vested interests in e.g. the fossil fuel industry who need to be gagged from speaking on whatever they have vested interests in, not genuine charities publicizing their ethical/moral concerns.

23aug13 'Keystone XL Decision Delayed Again  Inspector General Pushes Report on ERM Scandals to January 
22aug13 'Canada's oil pipelines will not build a nation - they are a great swindle'   Martin Lukacs  22aug13 Environment     - via GH

2aug13 New TransCanada Pipeline Plan ['Energy East'] Dwarfs Keystone XL – EcoWatch. It heads East to the Atlantic (and potentially to us in UK).

30jul13 Obama Calls Out Republicans For Wasting Time On Keystone  'That's Not A Jobs Plan'   ThinkProgress - Another good sign!

29jul13 'Proposed Utah Tar Sands Refinery Faces Massive Backlash' – EcoWatch. "“The public needs to understand that the Colorado River Basin’s carbon bomb dwarfs Alberta’s,” The U.S. Geological Survey estimates the site could produce anywhere between 353 billion and 1.146 trillion barrels of oil, substantially larger than the Alberta tar sands fields in Canada and the vast crude deposit inSaudi Arabia."  5aug13 sequel 'Tar Sands Stock Tanks After Direct Action in Utah – EcoWatch  Cutting Edge Environmental News Service'  8aug13 sequel: 'US Oil Sands stock drops 13 day nonviolent direct action shuts down mine' - KCSG Television

29jul13 'Alberta oil spills cause concern over Canada's approval of tar sands project'   Environment

28jul13 An optimistic sign from Obama re likelihood of a NO to KXL: 'Obama: Keystone Jobs 'A Blip', Pipeline 'Might Actually Cause Some Gas Prices In The Midwest To Go Up'' - Joe Romm,  ThinkProgress 28jul13   <<<< Sounds good - Obama shifting towards rejecting KXL ? and see: 'Barack Obama expresses reservations about Keystone XL pipeline project'  28jul13, Suzanne Goldenberg Environment

11jul13 Keystone XL: The Key to Crude Exports - New Report - The Price of Oil (by Lorne Stockman).

8jul13 Good news re DIVESTMENTS:
Church of England urged to use theology as motivation for fossil fuel divestment - Blue and Green Tomorrow 8jul13 
Major Fossil Fuel Divestments Strengthen Renewable Energy Movement Worldwide – EcoWatch  Cutting Edge Environmental News Service 8jul13 

Kevin Grandia:  'Investors Give Canada's Tar Sands the Heave-Ho' 7jul13  Major Norwegian Pension Fund Drops Tar Sands Investments   DeSmog Canada 5jul13 - Kevin Grandia   Storebrand.
'Dutch bank refuses loans to businesses involved in shale gas' - Blue and Green Tomorrow 1jul13  
Dutch bank Rabobank has announced it will not lend money to businesses that deal with unconventional energy extraction, including shale gas, because of the environmental and social implications of doing so. - See more at:

6jul13 (Saturday): Tar Sands Healing Walk & 2 oil disasters:
Deadly Quebec Oil Train Disaster and Athabasca River Spill On Same Day as Tar Sands Healing Walk   DeSmogBlog 6jul13 

Highlighting human and environmental cost of Canada's energy policy with Healing Walk through oil sands   The Vancouver Observer 6jul13 

Canada's tar sands project becomes focus of 'healing walk' by activists   Environment 1jul13 

25&26jun13 Obama's words sound very promising: Tweet by UKTSN: Great analysis piece: Obama to assess #kxl on whether it exacerbates climate change - what does this mean?  #tarsands  — UK Tar Sands Network (@NoTarSands) June 27, 2013 - re: All We Ever Asked  Keystone, Climate, and the National Interest - The Price of Oil 26jun13.

25jun13 MORE GOOD NEWS: Yesterday  evening "Oxford City Council declared itself a ‘Tar-Free City‘ by voting in favour of a motion tabled by Green Party councillor Sam Hollick. This makes Oxford the first city in Europe to reject the use of highly-polluting tar sands oil, by adjusting the policies governing the procurement of fuel to the Council for municipal use. "  Find out more about tar-free towns on website. &: 'Europe gets its first ‘Tar-Free City’ -- New Internationalist'    I hope Kendal can be next Tar Free Town (should be easier now Oxford has set a good example). Would be great if Lewes became a Tar Free Town (and a Norman-Baker-free town too - maybe in 2015 if his constituents know how much he's tar-nished his formerly shiny green reputation).

21jun13 VERY GOOD NEWS: Tim Farron & 4 other LibDem MPs have signed EDM 240 - TAR SANDS AND THE FUEL QUALITY DIRECTIVE tabled 12jun13 by Caroline Lucas. Tim Farron emailed me (& Gwen Harrison) today: "Dear Henry,  Thank you very much for your recent email with regard to the essential need to constrain the market for oil that is produced from tar sands and thanks for your expert analysis that underpins this case.   You are quite right that I share your concerns about such developments and I am pleased to confirm that I have signed EDM 240 to give my full support to the Motionpdf of our emails to Tim Farron and his reply.  Norman Baker is still supporting the tar sands oil industry by opting for tar sands fuel to be regarded by the FQD as having the same life-cycle carbon emissions as from conventional fuel, and to only consider classifying unconventionals as being of higher emissions than conventionals until the emissions of all of the hundreds of possible oil feedstocks and refining combinations has been  assessed - a recipe for kicking the tar sands oil can down the road and increasing its likelihood of going into "the long grass" - with no concern whatsoever to the urgency of preceding Obama's decision on the KXL pipeline. (See postings for 15 & 16may below).

18jun13 FQD: Caroline Lucas MP in PQ (Parliamentary Question) to DfT Minister Norman Baker asks him re his position re FQD having met climate scientists e.g. James Hansen: Oil 18 Jun 2013  Hansard Written Answers and Statements - TheyWorkForYou. Baker's answer was inadequate - so I added critical comments beneath it pulling apart each point he made.

13jun13 Stop Harper!  Canadian PM met by multiple tar sands protests in London' UK Tar Sands Network: "Stephen Harper met by large crowd of protesters from 30 environmental and human rights groups.  1. Five activists arrested after blocking the entrance to Harper’s speech andscaling the roof of Parliament.  2. 6 MPs table an Early Day Motion tokeep tar sands out of Europe.  3. Harper criticised for using trip to lobby against EU climate legislationand spread misinformation.  4.  Brigette DePape’s iconic ‘Stop Harper’ page protest recreated outside Houses of Parliament.".

1jun13 GOOD NEWS: Tar sands supporters suffer setback as British Columbia rejects pipeline - Canadian province rejects plan for Enbridge Northern Gateway, saying company failed to demonstrate adequate clean-up plan - Environment Suzanne Goldenberg 1jun13  SG should have mentioned First Nations resistance to Northern Gateway for completeness

16may13 'UK caught in battle over Canadian tar sands' UK Tar Sands Network:  "1. Leading scientists in London today to advise UK government on tar sands damage.  2. Leak reveals government’s pro-tar sands stance, Norman Baker’s response unconvincing.  3. Second Canadian Minister in two weeks visits UK on lobbying mission.  4. Comprehensive new tar sands fact-check website launches."

15may13 Norman Baker’s recent preference decision: 'UK signals support for EU import of Canadian tar sands oil'   Environment 15may13 John Vidal  'Leaked papers show UK rejects proposal to classify oil from tar sands as highly polluting, a label that would deter EU countries from importing it'  ... 'But of six options put to EU countries in April on how to implement the proposal, the UK chose the two that would make no differentiation between the carbon content of fuels.  "Based on the findings so far, it seems clear that [these two] seem to meet the policy aims of the directive with the least risks of unexpected consequences," the UK said in the documents. It firmly rejected others that allowed a difference.' Charlie Kronick & Norman Baker both quoted. Baker says no change in his stance from before

1may13: Inspirational article by
Emily Coats of UKTSN in Extreme Energy Initiative website: 'Creating a future we want: How Europe can stop tar sands expansion - also appeared on 2may13 in UKTSN website: - gives a good update, and inspires us to campaign to get an effective FQD in place urgently

16apr13 re KXL pipeline: I hope this isn't as bad as it appears to be:  (I fear Obama may be pleased to dodge out of responsibility and pretend there is nothing he can do about it). If this happens, it will demonstrate that Big Oil only needs to bribe enough Congressmen, especially Senators, to get its own way if it runs out of patience:
'House Energy Committee panel passes bill to expedite Keystone XL approval' - The Hill's E2-Wire 16apr13

11apr13 Two events today in London re tar sands:
'Activists rally outside G8 and send Kerry a message: Say No to Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline' (UK Tar Sands Network posting). Tar sands protestors greeted US Secretary of State John Kerry (here for a G8 meeting) with a selection of banners. The KXL pipeline decision will ultimately be by Obama but Kerry as head of the State Department is also key - as KXL middle section is within the Department's remit. Tara Clarke's write-up: 'Keep tar sands out of Europe!' - one of the messages to John Kerry.
2. Today is BP's AGM - and BP is facing challenges over its involvement with Alberta tar sands and its dodging of its responsibilities to US gulf coast communities over impacts of its big oil spill disaster. Live news was tweeted using #bpagm2013 and especially by e.g. @NoTarSands (=UKTSN), @PlatformLondon & @ShareActionUK. NB: vg posting by UKTSN: 'Questions we asked BP at their 2013 AGM' also: 'Shareholders barred from entering BP AGM for criticising tar sands'. posted: 'Activists rally outside G8 and send Kerry a message  Say No to Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline'

Much has happened since 30jan13 which I have yet to write-up here (I'm busy with SLACC re #2030decarb for #EnergyBill & fracking) - in mean-time see UKTSN for updates, and/or look at my list of LINKS to 2013 TAR SANDS news articles.

c.Feb 2013 ‘Carbon Bomb or Carbon Bubble’ (pdf) - a draft article I wrote for SLACC which reviews the tar sands scenario up to c.Feb. 2013.
30jan13 ‘EU executive thwarts Canada lobby on tar sand oil’  - Reuters. Same piece but with great photo.
23jan13 'Canadians Continue to Undermine EU Climate Effort' - by Andy Rowell (The Price of Oil), on Canada's continued lobbying to undermine EU's FQD, and summarizes Lorne Stockman's findings on tar sands petcoke emissions. 25jan13 EurActiv's article 'Canada’s tar sands charm offensive hits the rocks' writes that despite back-firing of its intense lobbying against the FQD, two Alberta ministers visit 11 EU countries this month to continue the lobbying.

Jan2013 More re Keystone XL tar sands pipeline: ‘Is Obama about to blow his climate credentials?’ - Fred Pearce in New Scientist 28jan13, 'Keystone XL: A Year in Review' - Sarah Laskow in 25jan13.

22jan13 Canada's tar sands industry - more specifically its aim to treble production by 2035 - is one of the 14 massive fossil fuel "carbon bomb" projects that if allowed to progress will produce enough extra CO2... Greenpeace put it better - in their web-page for downloading their new 'Point of No Return' report: "
The world is quickly reaching a Point of No Return for preventing the worst impacts of climate change. With total disregard for this unfolding global disaster, the fossil fuel industry is planning 14 massive coal, oil and gas projects that would produce as much new carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2020 as the entire US, and delay action on climate change for more than a decade."
"In 2020, the emissions from the 14 projects showcased in this report – if they all were to go ahead – would raise global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels by 20% and keep the world on a path towards  5C to 6C of warming." - Executive summary. Directly download report (See pp49-50 for tar sands part of Appendix).
Guardian summary of Greenpeace 'Point of No Return' report. "Greenpeace analysis shows 14 planned giant fossil fuel projects will increase global emissions by 20%" - this, Greenpeace say "will make it very difficult to meet the 2degreesC target".

17jan13 Two very relevant and useful new reports published on 17jan13:
PETCOKE:There’s coal hiding in the tar sands, and the emissions are not being counted’ - by Lorne Stockman - The Price of Oil - 17jan13 - "Our new report details how the coal-like byproduct "petcoke" makes the tar sands even worse than feared". - and not just for the added CO2 emissions from burning petcoke (also petcoke emits 5 to 10% higher CO2 per unit energy released than coal) but also is even more dirty in other pollutants than coal. Furthermore - because petcoke is cheaper than coal (by e.g. 25% - as its harder to burn) - it is likely to increase the total coal+petcoke burned for example in China's coal-fired power stations. All these additional emissions are yet to be fully accounted for.
The climate implications of the proposed Keystone XL oilsands pipeline’ - new report by Pembina Institute - by Nathan Lemphers
17jan13, and related blog article:
Climate concerns are key in Keystone XL pipeline debate   Pembina Institute 17jan13 Nathan Lemphers.

15jan13 'Scientists Call on President to Reject the Keystone XL Pipeline' -

2013  Canada's indigenous First Nations - under the 'banner' and hashtag 'IdleNoMore' continue to protest against the erosion of their treaty rights, and solidarity actions continue elsewhere e.g. in London again (see UKTSN website and #IdleNoMore and Idle No More website and Facebook).

19dec12 UK Tar Sands Network post: 'Call to Action: First Nations' Rights Under Assault'. '
A solidarity action will take place in London at 8:30 am this Friday.'
On 10dec12 Canada's First Nations rally to protest against the Conservative Harper Government's Bill C-45 which undermines their rights and removes environmental protection eg from rivers & lakes. Facebook LINK. This bill has now been passed by Parliament (has a Con. majority) [14dec12 sequel: now passed by Senate - and likely to be law by end of this year]. It is the second 'budget omnibus bill' this year that reduces legal protection to the environment; another aim is to fast-track development proposals (eg of tar sands & pipelines) to bypass democratic environmental concerns. The UK Tar Sands Network are promoting a show of solidarity to support the First Nations here. The Harper Government are doing what they can to undermine First Nations' resistence to tar sands expansion and pipelines on their land. Beaver Lake Cree First Nation are taking the Canada government to court over the disregard of their treaty rights by the tar sands industry and its expansion over First Nations land (case management hearing on/by 10dec12). [Also see my 5oct12 post]

EVENT: On Saturday 1st December in the "Grosvenor Square Keystone pipeline" was "constructed" in London between the Canadian High Commission and the US Embassy - as part of the "GET FRAKTIOUS" event (Campaign against Climate Change) - midway through the UN COP18 climate change talks in Qatar. Jess Worth of UK Tar Sands Network gave a very strong speech well-summarizing the current tar sands scenario including Canada gov's lobbying to get its products into the EU: youtube video (12 minutes).

20nov12 Today in London UK Tar Sands Network and other groups theatrically protested outside Canada House against the "dirty diplomacy" going on there today between Canada & UK governments, the oil industry and financiers to promote the Alberta tar sands industry in the 'Canada Europe Energy Summit'. UKTSN's write-up - now with video - here, People & Planet write-up here. Great work!

18nov12 Today in the USA protestors against the KXL tar sands pipeline surrounded the White House with a black inflatable pipe to urge Obama not to give the go-ahead to the Northern section of the KXL. He has already OK'd the Southern section from Cushing Oklahoma to the Mexican Gulf coast refineries - which continues to face strong protest - including by land-owners - who's land-rights have been over-ridden (legally but unethically) by legal power given to the Canadian pipeline company TransCanada - supported heavy-handedly and sometimes violently by the police. See e.g. and also read/follow Bill McKibben.

Oct-Nov2012 Last year I wrote that Valero had bought Pembroke Refinery and UK's 'Texaco' outlets, and plans to import tar sands fuel into the UK ('The Valero Connection'). A full report has now been published on this subject by UK Tar Sands Network (Emily Coats), Corporate Watch (Chris Kitchen) and Pembrokeshire Friends of The Earth, and was launched at a meeting in Pembrokeshire on 30th October. UKTSN describe the report and meeting in their press release: 'Tar sands oil could soon be coming to Pembrokeshire, UK', which links to a useful summary of the report and to the full report (pdf): 'Tar sands coming to town - Exposing Valero's plans to bring tar sands oil to the UK' (pdf). Valero's response. Pembrokeshire FoE want to fight 
against Valero's Pembroke Refinery being used as a 'gateway' for tar sands fuel entering the UK. Pembroke Refinery is not the only Valero terminal that they've bought in the UK through which tar sands products can be imported here (see maps in summary or report). Charlie Mason has written an excellent article which puts Valero's plans into a comprehensive multiple context: 'Battle lines drawn on Canadian tar sands coming to the EU' 9nov12. WalesOnline, 12nov12: 'Controversial 'tar sands oil' could be imported through Wales'.

5oct12 Best of luck to
Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation's legal challenge to Shell tar sands industry expansion which ignores their treaty rights - destroying environmental assets vital for their continued way of life that the treaty rights aimed to safeguard. The treaty is with 'the Crown' - so a UK  connection (that our government would rather ignore too). More on this legal challenge. 17oct12: This article by Kristin Moe states: "In 1899, First Nations in northern Alberta signed a treaty [Treaty 8] with Queen Victoria that enshrined their right to practice traditional lifeways." - Their right is to pursue traditional ways of living, including trapping, hunting, and harvesting, and access to health care and education etc.

5oct12 In The Globe and Mail (Canada): Jeffrey Simpson writes "You heard it here: Northern Gateway [tar sands pipeline]'s dead". I hope he's right!

7oct12 KXL: Opposition to construction of the Southern section of the Keystone XL pipeline faces continued opposition and has resulted in the absurdity of US law enabling a landowner to be arrested for trespassing on her own land (together with actress Daryl Hannah): article with photos and 'Keystone Kops: During Pipeline Protest, Texas Woman Arrested For Trespassing — On Her Own Property!'. Also - violence including torture has been used by Texas police to try and remove non-violent protestors who very bravely hold up the destructive progress of the machinery: 26sep12
Bill McKibben writes: 'TransCanada Turns Sadistic in Texas  Keystone XL Protestors Tased and Pepper Sprayed'.  Southern section is indicated by '4' on this MAP - and shows how it will release some of the current backlog of tar sands oil at Cushing to the Gulf Coast refineries (and from there to the UK etc).

Re FQD: 'Vince Cable described as 'Minister For Shell' in letter from oil giant' obtained by Corporate Watch, who write about it HERE, and here is their download link for the letter as a pdf. This piece also posted in Huffington Post HERE. Great work by Chris Kitchen - Researcher at Corporate Watch.
11sep12 Re FQD: Rather depressing: Department for Transport statement on Fuel Quality Directive Transposition by LibDem MP and Minister Norman Baker, and Consultation on proposals to implement Articles 7a to 7e of the EU Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) (Directive 98 70 EC as amended by 2009 30 EC) requiring suppliers to reduce the lifecycle greenshouse gas.

21sep12 Lorne Stockman of OILCHANGE INTERNATIONAL's 'The Price of Oil' writes on the "tar sands oil pipeline boom" in his piece: 'Boom goes the oil industry, bust goes the climate'. Great map of pipeline routes from InsideClimateNews - showing how the tar sands industry is trying to gets its dirty products to the sea for export.

Descriptions of the 2010 tar sands oil spill of diluted bitumen ('dilbit') into the Kalamazoo River (Michigan) by Enbridge - the RBS-backed pipeline company that - with strong support from Canada's Conservative PM Stephen Harper - is pushing to get its proposed Northern Gateway tar sands pipeline to connect the Alberta tar sands with a long narrow inlet from the Pacific Ocean - and thus threaten forest and aquatic habitat en route from eventually similar pollution: The Observatory - which refers to and summarizes this report: 'The Dilbit Disaster: Inside The Biggest Oil Spill You've Never Heard Of' by Elizabeth McGowan and Lisa Song, InsideClimate News, who also wrote: 'Federal Agency Blames 'Complete Breakdown of Safety at Enbridge' for 2010 Oil Spill'.

17aug12 Nick Clegg's Environment Survey ask for your comments: ACTION: UKTSN suggest we 'Tell Nick Clegg to keep Tar Sands out of Europe'.

16aug12 Enbridge makes a fake map to look like it's perfectly safe open water for tankers to carry tar sands oil from the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline to the Pacific - when a corrected map shows the opposite - very hazardous: NWF16aug12 (via UKTSN tweet). ACTION: Sign up to this sumofus campaign to tell Enbridge to stop misleading the public and withdraw the false ad.

16aug12 Construction of southern section of Keystone XL tar sands pipeline begins and 'Tar Sands Blockade' protest in Oklahoma and Texas. Bill McKibben 17aug12.

july-aug12 Good news: 
'Gateway pipeline risks exceed rewards, B.C. Premier says' - The Globe and Mail  22jul12 - and subsequent comments:  'For the very first time, British Columbia Premier Christy Clark has publicly stated that the environmental risks associated with the Northern Gateway tar sands pipeline outweigh the economic benefits' - Susan Casey-Lefkowitz's Blog   Switchboard, from NRDC and A turning point for the Spirit Bear Coast - Care2 Causes  9aug12 by Frances Beinecke, President, NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council).
My comment: hope she doesn't agree to pipeline if B.C. is given a significant share of the profits from tar sands industry and then accepts false assurances that other conditions will be met.

24may12 Transport & Environment write that today the European Parliament "reiterated the need for legislation which gives tar sands a higher GHG emission value compared with fuels from conventional oil and for correct carbon accounting under the Fuel Quality Directive". (via UKTSN email)

14may12 Bill McKibben of writes 'The latest on Keystone XL' [tar sands pipeline]. Today in NYT Editorial: 'Confronting Keystone Again'. Spatial context: another good map of America's tar sands pipeline system actual and proposed.

10may12 'RBS outed for pro-tar sands lobbying' - Platform. Refers e.g. to Reuters article: 'Insight: Canada's oil sand battle with Europe' - which is a brief history of the battle.

9may12 Climate scientist James Hansen (Director of NASA Goddard Institute) in 'Game Over for the Climate' OpEd in The New York Times warns of the climate change perils of Obama's lack of leadership in restricting Canada's development of its tar sands. Obama pretends he can do nothing to restrain Canada's tar sands exploitation but he can - if he restricts construction of tar sands pipelines crossing USA to the sea. However - Obama has recently done the opposite of restriction - by promoting construction of the Southern section of Keystone XL through Texas from Cushing - where there is an oil bottleneck - so that it can flow to the Texas coast refineries and hence to e.g. the UK.

20apr12 Very disappointing news: 'EU vote on tar sands delayed until 2013' - The Globe and Mail (Canada). Also worth reading: 'EU delays 'anti-oilsands' fuel quality directive decision' - CBC News.

18apr12 Today TransCanada Corp. submitted a re-route of its Keystone XL tar sands pipeline to the Nebraska state government, which is claimed to avoid an environmentally sensitive area [The Sand Hills]. This comes a day after Nebraska governor signed a bill allowing the state's review of the pipeline. (via WSJ). But environmentalists say it does not avoid the sensitive Sand Hills and Ogalalla aquifer: 'New Keystone XL Route - Same Risks, Same Threats' (19apr12).

apr12 Launch of Olympic Greenwash Gold, and IEN remind us about BP and the tar sands: here.  See UKTSN
12apr12 BP AGM See UKTSN's website
for info. First Nations tell BP shareholder meeting 'BP operations in Tar Sands "could soon be illegal"' and hand deliver statement.

3apr12 Twelve minute video summarizing the Ecocide Sentencing Event of 31st March.
22mar12 ECOCIDE: International Lawyer Polly Higgins has written a 'concept paper': 'Closing the door to dangerous industrial activity' [by implementing UN law against ecocide] that she has this week submitted to all governments and hopes you will email or send it to e.g. MPs. The Alberta tar sands are used as an example. You can download full version or 1-page summary via Eradicating Ecocide website or the full pdf here.

21,22mar12 A huge disappointment: Obama to speed up approval of building of Southern section of Keystone XL tar sands pipeline between Cushing, Oklahoma and Port Arthur on Texas' Gulf coast. This will bring forward the time when significant amounts of tar sands oil can get to Europe. Thank you LibDem Minister Norman Baker for helping prevent timely implementation of Article 7a of EU's Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) to send the right signal to Obama that tar sands oil has unacceptably high emissions (the thanks is irony here! < to those unfamiliar with Norman's stance). Ref. e.g.s: Suzanne Goldenberg 21mar12 for Guardian, Associated Press 22mar12, 'Obama Energy Tour - Full of Broken Promises', Politico - Obama's very pro-oil speech in Oklahoma - depressing.

19mar12 On 31st March is to be held the Ecocide Restorative Justice Sentencing Event in which the two fictional oil CEOs found guilty of committing Ecoside in the Alberta tar sands will face justice.  This open event will be broadcast live. See my 30sep11 entry below for background summary.  We hope that the UN will make ecocide an international crime against peace alongside e.g. genocide, and wish Polly Higgins and other campaigners success in achieving this aim.

19mar12 'Canadian Lobby Busting Tour in Europe Challenges [Canadian] Government Oil Sands Advocacy Strategy'  - The Council of Canadians. This tour includes a First Nations chief and civil society representatives and aims to urge European decision makers to stand up to the aggressive attempts by the Canadian and Albertan governments and the tar sands oil industry to undermine or kill the EU’s efforts to reduce transport GHGs through the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD).

9mar12 'Canada tar sands lobbying threatens EU climate action' - Suzanne Dhaliwahl of UKTSN - posted in Public Service Europe website.
8mar12 'UK complicit in Canadian government’s Dirty Diplomacy' - UKTSN in this piece refers to new report by Climate Action Network entitled: '
Dirty Oil Diplomacy - The Canadian Government’s Global Push to Sell the Tar Sands' (it's a substantial pdf with many refs links). And also refers (with links) to formerly secret documents of Canada's  Pan-European Oil Sands [Advocacy] Team etc obtained by Access to Information requests.

8mar12 'Victory in the Senate: No revival of the rejected Keystone XL tar sands pipeline' - Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, NRDC's 'Switchboard'. And by Stephen Lacey in Joe Romm's Climate Progress: 'March 9 News: Senate Rejects Amendment To Force Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline'. Also: 'Senate rejects expediting Keystone pipeline' - The Washington Post.

27feb12 'Obama supports TransCanada's bid to push ahead with part of oil pipeline [Keystone XL] between Oklahoma and Texas, but activists condemn 'betrayal'' - Suzanne Goldenberg, Guardian.  abc news. This NRDC piece has map showing route (and pollution-concerns etc by landowners etc). This is very bad news for us in the UK as it hastens connection of Alberta tar sands to the Texas Gulf refineries for world export including to the UK. Minister Norman Baker has failed to make use of the EU Commission's proposals for the FQD to send a timely red light to Obama that tar sands fuel is highly polluting.

23feb12 'EU tar sands pollution vote ends in deadlock - Decision on whether to label oil produced from tar sands as highly polluting is delayed as key vote fails to find majority' - Damian Carrington, Guardian.
23feb12 Member states vote on FQD reaches a stalemate (i.e.  no qualified majority), with UK abstaining (at least Norman's rep didn't vote against). Damian Carrington writes: 'The impasse means the decision will be referred to ministers, who will send a proposal to the European parliament for passing into law' and tweets: 'correction: EU #tarsands vote: Stalemate: 89 (not 54) votes for proposal to label tarsands oil as v polluting, 128 against, 128 abstain'. A vote on what ministers propose may take place in June. Assessment of UK's abstention by Joss Garman of Greenpeace (he looks on the bright side! I wouldn't call this a success - but some relief that UK didn't vote against). Great assessment by People and Planet HERE. Reuters: 'EU tar sands fight not over'. Euractiv: 'EU tar sands pollution vote ends in deadlock' - by Damian Carrington but with appended statements by Connie Hedegaard (EU Climate Action Commissioner), Transport and Environment, Greenpeace, Joe Oliver (Canada Gov.).

23feb12 'EU tar sands vote looms' - Damian Carrington, Guardian.

22feb12 'EU poised for tar sands vote, stalemate likely' - Barbara Lewis - Reuters UK. - UK may abstain.
22feb12 'Fuel Quality Directive Update, FAQ and actions!' - UK Tar Sands Network.
'Reducing greenhouse gas emissions through transportation fuel policy - The European Union’s proposed fuel-quality directive and implications for Canadian oilsands producers' - useful 8-page pdf just out by The Pembina Institute. NB: A briefer 'must-read' useful summary of the FQD is by Transport and Environment: 'Reducing transport fuel emissions - Implementing the FQD' dated 14feb12.

21feb12 Posting by Liam Barrington-Bush: 'Tar sands: Let's not lose sight of the big, ugly picture...' in people & planet's 'Grassroots Bloggers'. Re Norman Baker, Nick Clegg and the FQD etc - well worth reading.

20feb12 'Canada threatens trade war with EU over tar sands'
- Damian Carrington,, and: 'Canada threatens EU over tar sands' - EurActiv.
20Feb12 'Government must not block this week's EU attempt to label fuel from tar sands as highly polluting' - Maria Eagle MP, Labour's Shadow Transport Secretary, has written to Transport Minister Norman Baker to urge the Government to vote in support of the European Commission's proposals for the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD).

16-17feb12 'EU tar sands vote set for 23 February'   EurActiv

16feb12 'Desmond Tutu tells David Cameron tar sands threaten health of the planet' - Adam Vaughan,
16feb12 'Nobel winners urge EU leaders to back tar sands law' - Reuters 'A group of Nobel peace prize winners urged European leaders in a letter on Thursday to support an EU Commission proposal to class fuel from oil sands as highly polluting.'
16feb12 'Peace Laureates urge EU heads of state: no tar sands oil' – Nobel Women's Initiative. And here's their letter: pdf.

14feb12 ACTION:  
Pls take 2mins to sign & send template email to Norman Baker & Nick Clegg to support EU tar sands import-ban on 23Feb: (my tweet). On 23rd February EU member states are due to meet re the Fuel Quality Directive - and are very likely to vote on it. We hope the UK and Netherlands won't scupper it from effectively banning/restricting import of tar sands fuel asap with their delaying alternative methodologies.

7feb12 See interesting additions to 20jan12 Carbon bubble below.

6feb12 Canada government to kill thousands of wolves
(including with strychnine!) as an absurd 'solution' to the decline in Woodland Caribou due to the expanding tar sands industry: National Wildlife Federation article and/or NWF blog, GlobalCalgary. 14feb12 sequel: article by desmogblog: 'Unethical Oil: Why Is Canada Killing Wolves and Muzzling Scientists To Protect Tar Sands Interests '.

30jan12 The Beaver Lake Cree Nation are continuing to fight their legal action (& pdf) against the Alberta and Canada governments for breeching their First Nation treaty rights by allowing tar sands projects to destroy their ancestral lands. The present court appearance is to defend against the governments' attempt to have the action thrown out on technicality to avoid answering the charge. Beaver Lake Cree are being supported by The Co-operative (see facebook link &/or Our support...pdf ). The Co-operative’s Toxic Fuels Campaign has described BLCN's legal action as ‘one of our best chances to stop tar sands expansion’ (if successful, much of the industry’s expansion plans would become illegal). 29feb12: 'An Open Letter to European Citizens' by Clayton Thomas-Muller (Member of Cree Nation and Tar Sands Campaign Director, Indigenous Environmental Network

jan-feb12 Palm oil biodiesel has been shown to have almost as high GHG emissions per megajoule as tar sands diesel (palm oil: 105gCO2equivalents/MJ, tar sands: 107, as cf conventional oil: 87.5) when the effects of Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) are taken into account - according to leaked EU data seen by EurActiv (Guardian, Sumatran Orangutan Society). Rainforest destruction is not the only carbon-emitting land use change resulting from expanding palm oil production - the drainage of peatlands on which they often stand releases much CO2 (20% of all Malaysian Palm oil is produced on drained peatlands ( and also much of that from Indonesia). I hope the EU rapidly use these new figures for bio-diesels to change their instruction for increasing the proportion of biofuels in transport fuels - which is at present environmentally destructive (Greenpeace state: "By making it law to put biofuels in the fuel tanks of cars across Europe, they've incentivised the destruction of rainforests around the world in the name of fighting climate change") (and see 
EurActiv). These figures can also be used to counter the use of palm oil to feed power stations: A year ago Eric Pickles gave the go-ahead (despite big opposition) to the building of a biofuel power station likely to run in big part on palm oil (info pdf). The Sumatran Orangutan Society (SOS) provide a template letter and url to help you email the new Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey NOT to subsidize the burning of bioliquids such as palm oil in power stations HERE, and biofuelwatch ditto to your MP HERE. In addition to emissions both palm oil and tar sands industries result in ecocide and loss of land rights to indigenous people. FoE & actionaid on costs of biofuels.
'Oil sands mining and reclamation cause massive loss of peatland and stored carbon' < Significant areas of both Alberta boreal forest and Malaysian and Indonesian rainforests occur on peatland (called muskeg in Alberta). The UK is investing in the destruction of both! (e.g. RBS). Though organizations in the UK are trying to repair some of our UK peatlands and research into peatland carbon flux in UK, the UK gov have put off the date that protective law comes into force: BBC R4 Costing the Earth 'The Power of Peat' (14mar12). 20apr12 sequel: Excellent briefing pdf for Scottish Parliament: 'Peatlands and Climate Change' (in Fig.3 Indonesia ranks 3rd in world for its area of peatland). Example of destruction of deep peat forest Orangutan habitat: Tripa peat swamps, Aceh, Indonesia.
25july12 sequel: There are similar problems with biomass for fuel: in their press release denouncing the government decision to continue subsidizing biomass as a "renewable energy" state that the European Environment Agency Scientific Committee’s Opinion of 15 September 2012 found that ‘legislation that encourages substitution of fossil fuels by bioenergy, irrespective of the biomass source, may even result in increased carbon emissions – thereby accelerating global warming.’ For pdf download of the EEA report: .

23jan12 Serbia oil shale: the likely environmental impacts if it's exploited emphasize the urgency for EU's Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) to be implemented with the already-available default values for life-cycle emissions for unconventional oils (which would restrict import of shale oil into the EU). According to this IPS article the Serbian government "has announced that the corporate players itching to enter the shale extraction race would be announced by mid 2012." The proposed default value for oil shale (131.3 gCO2eq/MJ) is 50% higher than the average for conventional oil sources (87.5), and is even higher than that for tar sands (107). The FQD needs to be used to make clear ASAP to Serbia and to interested "corporate players" (oil and financial interests) that the EU cannot be viewed as a potential market for its shale oil.  As with extracting oil from tar sands, extra emissions are just part of the impact: Belgrade Professor Dejan Skala: "The environmental problems are enormous" "entire diverse ecosystem of the locality is destroyed" "massive amounts of water consumed" "deposition pools" - sounds like tar sands ecoside. Other refs: e.g. wikipedia, pdf on geology and "potential".
Feb12 sequel: Estonia has reserves of shale oil and as it is an EU member state this may deter it from supporting implementation of Article 7a of the FQD.

2012 NB: EU member states meeting on the FQD is to be on 23rd February. The FQD - Fuel Quality Directive (here more specifically - its Article 7a) - is important climate change legislation which when fully implemented will hopefully in effect ban import into the EU any transport fuels with high life-cycle emissions such as diesel sourced from tar sands.

20jan12 Criticism of Norman Baker's words re the FQD: I have just uploaded a pdf document I produced last month that comments on DfT Minister Norman Baker's 2dec11 piece on the Fuel Quality Directive in Liberal Democrat Voice. I had emailed this last month to Tim Farron MP (copied to Simon Hughes MP). Here is a LINK to it. And here is its summary:

Norman very wrongly misrepresents both the Fuel Quality Directive (repeatedly echoing Canada Government myths) and environmental campaigners in his statement in Liberal Democrat Voice and elsewhere. Furthermore – he ignores the great urgency to implement the FQD with a tar sands value, and downplays the dangers of delay that his alternative methodology will cause (regardless of whether delay is unintentional on his part.)
The tar sands industry is pushing hard to get its products to the sea in sufficient quantity for export (including to Europe) and to invest in infrastructure both for this and for increased production – which needs access to markets abroad. They may not wait for Norman’s comprehensive methodology! 

However comprehensively effective his alternative methodology for the FQD might potentially be (and he does little to reassure environmentalists of this) - it runs too great a risk for the FQD being too late in implementation (or of being again diluted by oil interests) – because it increases the likelihood of being pre-empted by powerful investment-related decisions for increasing tar sands infrastructure based on the export of tar sands products beyond America – including to Europe. With the effectiveness of the FQD on a knife edge, further delays in implementation are likely to be interpreted by the industry as a green light – particularly if caused by a government regarded as supportive of the Canadian government’s promotion of the Tar Sands industry (i.e. the UK Government). Such oil industry decisions are likely to increase pressure on EU Governments to dilute the FQD to prevent their investments failing. Norman appears to be oblivious of these dangers that he increases.

20jan12 California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard is their equivalent of EU's Fuel Quality Directive Article 7a. It was due to start enforcement from 1jan12 but on 29dec11 oil companies succeeded in getting a judge's decision to delay it - which in turn may (hopefully) get overturned by an appeal. More info on this legal battle. .

20jan12 Carbon bubble: 'Fossil fuels are sub-prime assets, Bank of England governor [Mervyn King] has been warned' in an open letter by 'a high profile coalition of investors, politicians and scientists' [Guardian article quotes] - 'The huge reserves of coal, oil and gas held by companies listed in the City of London are "sub-prime" assets posing a systemic risk to economic stability' - a 'carbon bubble'.  Curbs on GHGs to reach COP17 targets would mean 'just 20% of existing fuel reserves could be burned'.  The Co-operative's toxic fuels campaign face-book site 'The Beaver Lake Cree vs Tar Sands' states: 'This is especially true of tar sands, the world's most highly emitting transport fuel. The Co-operative Banking Group has said this in the past in relation to tar sands, holding investor seminars, co-tabling shareholder resolutions and publishing reports such as Toxic Fuels - Toxic Investments (see It's very positive that other large investors now agree.'  
 83% taxpayer-owned RBS has invested heavily into the tar sands industry - including $2.5billion following the bailout with taxpayers money PDF. They must reduce their toxic liabilities. 2Feb12 SEQUEL: Reply from Mervyn King, Bank of England. 6Feb12: a very interesting follow-up article: Carbon bubble: Bank of England's opportunity to tackle market failure. But: 'Myopic'(?) views of energy investment analysts (13july11) were dismissive of the likelihood of unusable 'stranded assets' - they appear to assume that legal constraints to use of fossil fuel reserves that make up company values won't happen in their foreseeable future. BP similarly expect no significant constraint by international emissions legislation and expect fossil fuel dominance until at least 2030 (article by Charlie Kronick, senior climate advisor, Greenpeace UK). Implementing an effective Fuel Quality Directive may be one way of getting them to re-think?
8feb12 sequel: The Great Carbon Bubble: Bill McKibben on Why the Fossil Fuel Industry Fights So Hard Against Climate Action.
16feb12 sequel: Investors call on European Central Bank to address 'carbon bubble' risk by James Murray in BusinessGreen. And 24feb response by Scottish Widows Investment Partnership. Personally I am concerned by the RBS/taxpayers' billions in the tar sands industry - not just as an investment risk - but the 'chilling' effect it may have on the UK Government (e.g. via Chancellor George Osborne) to support implementation of an effective FQD Article 7a (as well as of course its more direct environmental consequences etc).
Sequel: In March 2012 Carbon Tracker won an award for its report 'Unburnable Carbon' - on the Carbon Bubble. Conclusion: "Only 20% of the total reserves [coal, oil, gas] can be burned unabated, leaving up to 80% of assets technically unburnable" to keep within a 2 degrees rise.
Nov12sequel: IEA's 2012 report: no more than one-third of proven reserves of fossil fuels burnable by 2050 (re 2degrees threshold). See eg HERE.

19jan12 UK Tar Sands Network post: "Huge Victory: Obama kills Keystone!". Also refers to the recent start of hearings on Enbridge's proposed Northern Gateway pipeline that aims to connect the Alberta tar sands Westwards to access the Pacific and China - which is fortunately being blocked by united opposition from the First Nations. [27jan12 update post by UKTSN & c.1minute video of wildlife & habitat under threat]. These pipeline delays/rejections are helping keep the Tar Sands industry as land-locked as possible to discourage its desired rapid expansion which is export-dependent. Also includes embedded 10 minute film STOP THE PIPELINE: The Rise Against Keystone XL.

18jan12 Excellent News! - Obama today rejected TransCanada's application for the Keystone XL pipeline but the US State Department said this does not preclude a re-application with a different route (there had been very strong local opposition in Nebraska for routing through the environmentally sensitive Nebraska Sandhills area of the Ogallala aquifer). Obama stated that
"The rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on by Congressional Republicans prevented a full assessment of the pipeline’s impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment," TransCanada announced they will re-apply. Sources: CBC News, Washington Times, Guardian, and here.

16jan12 Dutch alternative methodology for FQD: It's not just UK (Norman Baker) that is promoting an alternative methodology for the FQD, but so too is the Netherlands - home of Shell (which has a huge stake in the Alberta Tar Sands), and Damian Carrington's Guardian piece reveals some snippets about the Dutch attempt to derail the Commissions FQD proposals - which appear to be a “ludicrous”, unworkable & ineffective alternative (and which Norman Baker had ambiguously referred to as a “creative suggestion” in LibDem Voice on 2dec11).  Alternative methodologies will of course delay implementation of the FQD...

13jan12 Emily Coats of UK Tar Sands Network questions Norman Baker on why he is opposing the EU's proposal to give tar sands an immediate default carbon value in the FQD, but gets a predictable answer: Emily's post.

15dec11 A FOI request has revealed that Canadian and Big Oil lobbying suppressed consideration of possible Low Carbon Fuel Standards (i.e. similar to the LCFS in California and the FQD in Europe) for 11 U.S. states. Also the Canadian Government in trying to derail the FQD has been falsely claiming that California's LCFS is "unimplementable"; fortunately their deceit has been shown up and corrected by California REF and on 16dec11 the California Air Resources Board voted unanimously to move forward with the LCFS in California REF.

13dec11 Oil research expert Lorne Stockman of OIL CHANGE INTERNATIONAL has produced a very informative and illustrated report for Greenpeace UK and PLATFORM London: 'GETTING TO MARKET: EMERGING INVESTOR RISKS IN THE TAR SANDS' - the pdf is downloadable from web-page: Tar sands have trouble getting to market.  In summary: the Alberta tar sands industry wishes to massively expand production, but to make this viable it will need to export to overseas markets (including Europe and China). However it is facing much opposition to its proposed pipeline infrastructure to connect it to the sea from its landlocked location, and is concerned about EU's Fuel Quality Directive denying export to Europe (& any to other markets that might copy EU's example). What's more it faces competition from other oil sources....  Thus investing into tar sands infrastructure has become financially risky.  Great aerial photos and map.

13dec11 The Canadian government gets a Fossil of the year award for being the most obstructive nation to climate progress at "COPOUT17", and announces it's getting out of the Kyoto protocol. The reasons it gives are deceitfully flawed and fabricated. We all know that the real reason is that its desired huge expansion of tar sands production will mean a big increase in its CO2 emissions.

8dec11 TOTAL say their decision will be made "in the near future" on whether to go ahead with a huge tar sands mining project recently approved by Ottawa: makes you wonder how much this might affect France's attitude to the FQD. Canada - now the Alberta Government - has recently (12th-20th Dec) sent yet another official to Europe to lobby for the Tar Sands industry, visiting Paris, Geneva (WTO) and UK.

8dec11 Chris Davies MEP and LibDem Environment Spokesman in the European Parliament must be congratulated for the courage of writing the following words in his 6th December article in the Liberal Democrat Voice Chris Davies MEP writes... Slipping deeper into the tar sands:
The weak and obfuscating position on tar sands being taken by the Coalition Government is an embarrassment to every Liberal Democrat who wants to believe that having our representatives in office will advance the environmental agenda.” His views are also shown in the following 6th December Guardian piece in which Damian Carrington writes: Chris Davies, the MEP who is the Liberal Democrat environment spokesman in the European parliament, told me: "It is extraordinarily naive for ministers and officials to take the special pleading by Canada as though it were gospel truth, rather than what it is - an attempt to protect narrow financial interests." Davies is savage about the UK government's position, for which fellow LibDem Norman Baker is the responsible minister: "The whole isssue of tar sands is becoming a huge source of embarrassment to every Liberal Democrat who wants and expects a government of which we are part to be leading on environment issues and in the fight against climate change." It is also well worth reading comments below this by Colin and James Lloyd in particular.
Chris Davies' piece in Liberal Democrat Voice followed LibDem DfT Minister Norman Baker's piece in the same website on 2nd December, beneath which I wrote a comment about Norman's misrepresentations (I had to put it tactfully there!) and lack of a wider concept such as the urgency for an effective FQD to be implemented.

7dec11 Good news: The decision on Enbridge's proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline has been delayed until late 2013 - a year later than expected. This proposed pipeline route aims to link the Alberta Tar Sands Westwards to the Pacific for export to e.g. China, but this would mean crossing a number of watersheds of important salmon-rivers and forest habitats, to reach a long narrow sound potentially vulnerable to oil leaks. Pipeline leaks are highly likely - particularly as the diluted bitumen is acidic and corrosive to pipelines [14dec11 REF on safety of tar sands pipelines].  There is huge opposition from the First Nations. REF1 REF2 REF3

2dec11 The important EU Member State voting on the FQD has been postponed until 19th January 2012 [EU vote delayed (<P&P webpage link I added after 2dec11)]. Do read the People & Planet webpage 'NGO's respond to Norman Baker's tar sands claims' and read the comment by Chris Davies MEP, Liberal Democrat environment spokesman in the European Parliament, beneath the articleMinister tries to defend UK secret tar sands help for Canada - and fails’ by Damian Carrington in 30nov11 - and of course read Damian's article.

MUCH HAPPENING: This Friday (2nd Nov) EU Member States meet to vote on one of the most important climate decisions of all - whether to implement EU's Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) - which is now in an effective state (due to - see 4oct11 below).  UK Government is still trying to encourage a NO vote, and over the past few days and no doubt through this week we will see much action re this which I have no time to post here in full - as I am now helping our local group SLACC to persuade our local MP Tim Farron - LibDem President - to openly support urgent implementation of the FQD in writing to his minister colleagues Norman Baker and Chris Huhne. To keep up with events see e.g. Tar Monsters on the loose! in Lewes - Norman Baker's constituency and 'UK secretly helping Canada push its oil sands project' (Guardian) and Greenpeace rebrand Department for Transport as The Department for Tar Sands (YouTube) and Email Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg using Greenpeace template and 'EXPOSED: Canada's secret tar sands lobbying of UK ministers' (Greenpeace UK). 7dec11 sequel: Mark Raven's piece on Canada Tar Sands lobbying of DfT.

23nov11 URGENT QUICK EASY ACTION: Take 5 minutes and send Minister Norman Baker a letter telling him that there is no place for fuel from Tar Sands dirty oil in a green European Union!  peopleand have provided a template email to make this quick and easy:

nov11 What is a Tar Free Town?

15nov11 article by Lorne Stockman of Oil Change International & Price of Oil assesses the oil industry's most likely modified business plans or strategies resulting from Obama's 10nov11 announcement delaying a decision on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

10nov11: Excellent news from The Whitehouse today: Keystone XL Tar Sands pipeline decision to be delayed until 2013 (after Presidential election) while further assessments are carried out, including an alternative route to avoid pollution of the Ogallala aquifer in Nebraska - particularly the sensitive ecosytem of the Sand Hills area. Obama makes a statement referring to concerns for the environment, health and safety, and for a clean energy economy! Links to statements/articles by: U.S. State Dept  Bill McKibben for Tar Sands Action  BBC  NYTimes Canada: CBC News  Pembina Institute  The Globe and Mail For other links to articles on and following from this choose from tweets by
NB: we must stop UK Gov (eg Minister Norman Baker) continuing to block/delay EU's Fuel Quality Directive from becoming effective in preventing tar sands fuels getting into Europe. An effective FQD made law would give out a strong worldwide signal and help an environmentally-favourable KXL decision in 2013 (the KXL has a strong worldwide-export motive).

6Nov11: Today (Sunday) significant Tar Sands action in the U.S., with a related solidarity action in London: In the U.S. 12,000 people surrounded the White House to encourage Obama to reject the Keystone XL Tar Sands pipeline, and in the UK the UKTSN carried out a "miniature action" (employing a model White House) outside the U.S. Embassy in London.
Obama has recently at long last said a few words about some of his feelings re the Keystone XL - which give a slight glimmer of hope - in contrast to the ominous signs from the US State Department (and Hillary Clinton) over the past months.

20oct11 Joe Oliver, Canada's Natural Resources Minister, was presented with "The Greenwash Propagandist of the Year Award" at the London Scool of Economics, where he was giving a lecture promoting Canada's tar sands industry. He is currently broadcasting much greenwash disinformation and is certainly living up to his award. I congratulated him for winning this award on his face-book site, but as expected my comment was soon deleted - maybe he is not quite so proud of his skills at greenwashing.

11oct11  Shockingly brave stunt by two UKTSN activists at The Canada-Europe Energy Summit: They act out a physical metaphor of the "chummy" relationship between UK and Canada governments over promoting the Tar Sands oil industry:

Emily Coats:"This seedy relationship puts profits for the oil industry and banks ahead of much needed legislation which will curb emissions from transport fuel in Europe" and "Pete the Temp" Peter Bearder: "The government is supporting sleazy Canadian lobbying efforts and today's Energy summit shows just how intimate they have become to promote the tar sands industry." Video, explanatory text & vg link (scroll down to Oct.11). This summit was run by an organization that promotes Canada's Tar Sands industry and is in partnership with the UK Government. At the end of the video you will see sitting next to Canada Government's Gordon Campbell the UK's Foreign Office Minister Lord Howell of Guildford (formerly a minister in Thatcher's government) - who is noted by an interesting article in The Independent as being George Osborne's father-in-law and as having expressed climate-sceptic views in the past. 

Excellent news (REF & REF): On 4oct11 the European Commission voted almost unanimously to (re-)instate to the Fuel Quality Directive(FQD)  a greenhouse gas emissions default value to fuel sourced from tar sands (and values to other high emissions unconventional sources such as oil shale and coal-to-liquid), so as to fulfil the purpose of the FQD to achieve the EU’s pledged aim to reduce the carbon footprint of fuels (per unit of energy) by 6% by 2020. The decision accurately recognizes that use of tar sands fuels emits 23% more GHGs than conventional-sourced fuels over its 'life-cycle' (i.e. including combustion; 4.9x more in extraction). This will effectively ban their import into the EU if approved by a qualified majority vote by the EU member states and a final approval by the European Parliament’s Environment Committee. Unfortunately it appears that the UK Government still wish to block or continually delay an effective FQD by 1. lobbying EU member states to oppose the EU Commission decision, and 
2. using a new stalling tactic by pushing for an alternative (and deliberately time-consuming) methodology.

 The Valero connection:
OilChangeKXLexposed VALEROslide12mapAtlantic VALEROslide10mapofUK&IRE
VALERO:  Tar Sands diesel to UK via Keystone XL and Valero ("Texaco" brand fuel stations)
On 1st August BBC News Wales announced that Valero Energy Corporation (largest oil refinery Corp. in the US) bought Pembroke Refinery (Milford Haven), 11 terminals and around 1,000 petrol stations in the UK and Ireland - most of which will be familiar to you as the Texaco brand. Valero's US Gulf coast Port Arthur refinery will be the largest recipient of Tar Sands diluted bitumen ("dilbit") via the Keystone XL pipeline if Obama agrees to its construction - in the face of opposition from top climate scientists, Nobel Laureates and many others. Valero's business plan is to refine much of this dilbit to diesel for export - much of it to the EU. The UK now has Valero's first massive retail infrastructure in the EU.
Easy quick ACTION:
Please sign  petition to tell  & to stop the  Keystone XL pipeline -  
NB: this makes it even more important and urgent to urge Minister Norman Baker to back rather than block or delay the re-instatement of an effective EU Fuel Quality Directive to stop import of Tar Sands fuel, before Obama announces his decision. I have emailed my MP Tim Farron on this and you are welcome to use ideas within my email to email your MP (inadvisable if you suspect he/she is supportive of the present Government's deregulation policies for big business profit before environment).
SOURCES include:  
TAR SANDS IN YOUR TANK - EXPOSING EUROPE’S ROLE IN CANADA’S DIRTY OIL TRADE    Exporting Energy Security – Keystone XL Exposed    BBC Wales News re Valero acquisition
Valero and the Koch brothers are main funders and backers of Proposition 23: the "California Jobs Initiative" - which aims to derail implementation of Schwarzenneger's Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (aka AB 32), because such carbon emissions legislation - especially if copied elsewhere - may restrain future profits from their Tar Sands investments and prospects such as via the Keystone XL pipeline. UK - beware!  - Valero are over here now.        Sources include DESMOGBLOG and SourceWatch. Koch Brothers info.
UK Tar Sands Network have now also posted an article on the Valero connection: Tar Sands on fast track to the UK?!
         Jump to 2012 Valero SEQUEL

It would not surprise me if Valero has been in un-reported discussion with the UK Government as to its prospects for importing Tar Sands products here.  The EU has been trying to restrict import of Tar Sands fuel into Europe due to its high production carbon emissions - with the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD). But the UK Government is trying to prevent the FQD from being effective in this aim, now by delaying re-instatement of an emissions value for tar-sands-derived fuel to distinguish it from fuel derived from more conventional sources. Furthermore - UK Government is supporting an "investor-state clause" within another EU law (sensu lato) under negotiation (called CETA - explained below and HERE) - which almost unbelievably will give oil Corporations (and other Corp.s) legal powers to sue any Government or body that restricts their profits in trading Tar Sands products (or any other products) by means of for example environmental or climate change legislation such as the FQD.  I have now received a letter back from Government (via my MP) in reply to my letter regarding the CETA (my 26july posting below) which shows the Government position continues to be as I have described - it gives false and flimsy re-assurances with regards Government concerns about higher emissions fuel sources such as from tar sands, and gives obvious priority to financial benefits of the CETA to UK GDP (via free-trade rights to big business).  I recently briefly met my MP Tim Farron (President of LibDem Party) to update him on this matter.

David Cameron's pro- Tar Sands position has been shown during his recent visit to Canada and its Conservative PM Stephen Harper - who is one of the most anti-climate-change-legislation leaders in the world. This is summarized in this tweet by (UK Tar Sands Network):
David Cameron getting chummy w Stephen Harper arguing against the Fuel Quality Directive inclusion of  value 
This links to an article in Canada’s Globe and Mail – which shows that Cameron is supporting the Tar Sands industry and import of its products into Europe – fuel from the dirtiest most high-emissions oil fuel source on earth. All Scameron’s promises for "greenest government ever" and talk on reducing emissions is shown very clearly to be totally untrue in reality. Cameron’s team (eg British High Commissioner to Ottawa Andrew Pocock) are regurgitating Harper’s flawed and false propaganda in trying to stymie the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD). E.g. – exactly as I predicted in my recent article criticizing Davies’ letter, Pocock is stated as pointing out: “it’s not the only high-emissions oil in the world – pointing to the process of flaring gas in oilfields in Russia and Nigeria as less than ideal.”  - a very flawed argument – as I have explained already regarding the FQD. In summary - re-instating an emissions value for tar sands (= source of highest emissions) does not preclude subsequent addition of values for other oil sources. Also - significant flaring emissions are not an intrinsic unavoidable part of conventional oil extraction, whereas emissions in producing tar sands oil for refining are intrinsic and not currently avoidable without leaving the tar sands alone.

Mock ECOCIDE trial in Supreme Court

Test trial convicts fossil fuel bosses of 'ecocide'   Damian Carrington   Environment  5oct11

On 30th September 2011 the tar sands industry (in the form of 2 fictional oil company bosses) was in the dock in the Supreme Court mock ecocide trial, with Michael Mansfield QC prosecuting. The jury found the 2 fictional bosses guilty of ecocide in the Alberta Tar Sands - ecoside being the large-scale destruction or damage of an ecosystem. Lawyer and Barrister Polly Higgins and others are working hard to make ECOCIDE a crime under UN international law alongside genocide & other such laws. The law regards decision-making individuals within governments or corporations as liable for ecocide (they can't escape by blaming the corporation), and aims to deter them from ignoring ecosystem impacts in decision-making. UK accomplices to the Tar Sands ecocide include for example David Cameron and others in the UK Government or RBS if they continue to back the tar sands industry. Unfortunately no time during the mock trial to get them or fictional replacements in the dock - hopefully that time might come!
MPs should consider their positions in relation to the tar sands ecocide. Too many have turned a blind eye - if they haven't been accomplices.
For further information: and  Read tweets and links under #ecocidetrial -!/search/%23ecocidetrial then shorten to #ecocide.

Protests against the Keystone XL Pipeline             also see e.g.
25,26sep11 Protest action at Ottawa against the tar sands industry. See ottawaaction website and facebook and media news e.g.
20sep11 Obama will decide in December on the KXL pipeline. Heather Libby (MD of lists those for and against in The Great Tar Sands Standoff [Infographic]
SUMMARY STATEMENT of Tar Sands Action outside Whitehouse in Washington, DC, August 20-September 3, 2011. 1253 were arrested (including top climate scientist(s)) in the largest sustained act of non-violent civil disobedience in the U.S. nation's history, in an effort to stop the construction of the 1800-mile Keystone XL oil pipeline from the Tarsands in Alberta, Canada to the Gulf of Mexico at Port Arthur, Texas.
See UK TAR SANDS NETWORK web-pages on the Keystone XL Pipeline protest:
If we burn through the tar sands, warns NASA expert James Hansen, it's "game over" for the climate.
2sep11 = Day 14 of the Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline Protest outside the White House, and author Naomi Klein and Indigenous Leaders from Alberta have joined the protest. For photo & info:
If the Pipeline is constructed it will greatly increase the ease of transport of tar sands products (especially diesel) to the EU and UK. A few days ago the US State Department Environmental Impact Statement 
absurdly & falsely concluded  pipeline for  bitumen would have minimal effect on environment! -  my tweet on 27august - an ominous indication of how Obama is likely to decide. It would help if the EU decides to make the Fuel Quality Directive effective before Obama decides on KeystoneXL - so as to give him a steering red light - but the UK and Dutch (Shell) Governments have been trying to delay re-instatement of the tar sands oil life-cycle carbon emissions values to the FQD - necessary for it to be effective.

26july11: Please read my email to my MP re CETA. If you agree with it please email likewise or similar to your MP. LINK
              More about CETA under "Unique opportunity?" and in the
NEWS & ACTION section below.
17july11: The CETA, and the big implications to Europe (& the US environment) of the Keystone XL pipeline proposal (in the
NEWS & ACTION section below, but read "Unique opportunity?" first for the context).

8july11: "Yellowstone River Oil Spill a Red Flag Ahead of Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline Decision" - 8july11 article by Miles Grant on National Wildlife Federation website: 

Unique opportunity?
  (June/July11) The battle over the EU Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) - which has been ongoing for many months - may be a unique opportunity for us to have some influence on the trade of tar sands oil not just with regards Europe but also world-wide - especially in the USA, so I hope you find time to read up about it (see "URGENT" & "Weasel Diesel" below), and to urge UK Transport Minister Norman Baker (LibDem) via e.g. your MP - not to dilute or delay the FQD from classifying tar sands oil as being of significantly higher carbon footprint than conventional oil (in accordance with the data, facts and recommendations in Adam Brandt's (Stanford University) report commissioned by the EU). Also read about CETA - the Canada-EU free trade agreement under negotiation - which threatens to undermine the FQD and give tar sands oil companies the power to legally challenge any limits we put on trade in tar sands oil. Oct11 sequel: 'Tar Sands and the CETA' - briefing paper by CCPA (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives). Also see e.g. UKTSN on CETA.
(21&22june11 posting but petition still running): Please sign Avaaz petition - No tar sands in Europe -

Weasel Diesel?   I have received email letters from Tory MEP's which show that they are trying to deceive the UK public about the carbon footprint and environmental impact of oil from the Tar Sands, in contradiction with a BP admission at its recent AGM:
BP’s CEO “Mr Dudley admitted that BP’s methods of extracting oil sands was more polluting than conventional crude” (,
Conservative MEPs state: “SAG-D, is deep mined rather than open cast and therefore causes little environmental footprint”
       [SAG-D is extraction method used by Husky-BP].                            - Weasel words?     Deception?

See NEWS & ACTION section below - where you can read "Weasel Diesel?" - shows the deception I received in reply from the Con. MEPs  - with my analysis (though the deception is obvious anyhow!).
Madagascar tar sands   The World Development Movement website reports that RBS has lent 303 million to the French oil giant TOTAL which is preparing to extract oil from the tar sands deposits in Madagascar. This threatens to cause environmental damage which is likely to include pollution of land and water resources essential for the livelihoods of the poor people there. You can help raise awareness to challenge RBS. See NEWS & ACTION section below. June 2011: WDM needs your URGENT help (just takes a few minutes!).

   Some older additions:  
UK is a major financier of the Tar Sands industry, with the main UK direct contributors including RBS, Barclays and HSBC.
RBS financed the Tar Sands industry with $2.5 billion (=c.1.6B) of taxpayers money soon after it became 84% owned by us following the banks bailout, which added to its pre-bailout investment of $5 billion thus totals $7.5 billion into the Tar Sands.
RBS is also helping finance a major pipeline proposal from the Tar Sands to near the Pacific, by a company (Enbridge) infamous for its oil leaks (including Tar Sands crude into the Kalamazoo River) - and the proposed route is in threatening proximity to important wild salmon rivers!
A pdf collates more detailed facts and figures of UK financing of the Tar Sands industry. Another pdf gives some ideas of what you can do.
Also read: 'Canadian protest over RBS oil sands role' - 16nov09 - refers to court case & Equator Principle, & RBS oil sands investments 'not sound', say greens Damian Carrington 19apr11
NEWS & ACTION section:  National and local (Kendal / South Lakeland) news.
Article: 'What are the TAR SANDS? How do they affect us?' [April 2010] (with 2 photos)         (a shorter version is on SLACC BLOG web-page)
GRAPH showing atmospheric CO2 over the last 2K years  - with data-point for March 2010, and link to BBC animation

            This graph gives a remarkably clear picture. Although "correlation is not cause", the co-incidence it shows is hard to ascribe to anything other than man's actions. Though it does not show how strong CO2 is as a driver for the recent global warming or its relative contribution, it nonetheless looks like CO2 is a likely causative candidate.
Posted on 17/6/11: Greenpeace tar sands slide-show during which Melina Laboucan-Massimo, a member of the Lubicon Cree First Nation describes the impact of oil and gas developments and the recent oil spill in the traditional territory of the Lubicon Cree in northern Alberta:

TAR SANDS article: What are they? How do they affect us?
pdf version of POSTER you can save or print or email
UK / RBS financing of the Tar Sands: pdf of
 facts & figures
What you can do about it (UK re the Tar Sands)
GRAPH showing atmospheric CO2 over last 2K years
(pdf )
After examining above graph see further details on BBC link below. Get data update for Mauna Loa CO2 from NOAA
Link to BBC web-page with animation on atmospheric CO2 etc over much of last million years
Evidence for CO2 causing global warming
Letter re TAR SANDS and atmospheric CO2
submitted to The Westmorland Gazette

Climate Change Science & Greenhouse Gas effect - explanation
Link to BBC's
The human/social impacts of Climate Change
 (a few examples)
Local CC groups
(Kendal area)
SLACCtt pages
Peak Oil Update January 2010
on SLACCtt website
     The POSTER below
The A4 "Google TAR SANDS RBS POSTER" below is designed to get key facts and associated icons across to people in a hurry, and to encourage readers to voice their opinions to those with influence.
Things you can do with this poster - see below this gif image.
 gif image of POSTER Google TAR SANDS RBS

Click to the left to obtain the A4 Acrobat pdf version which you can save. Do e-mail it on to as many people you know who might be even slightly interested. (Also you could e-mail on the info sheet or simply name this website in your e-mail.)
Print and display it where-ever you think fit - but ask first where appropriate even if only to be courteous. Be prepared for unexpected refusals. (Oil companies sponsor various establishments - which can potentially lead to suppression of information about e.g. the Tar Sands, Nigeria Delta etc)

Some other ideas for poster display:
CAR: On "parcel shelf" at back of car. BICYCLE: You could attach it to your bicycle crossbar when you chain it up in town - e.g. to a lamp-post near an RBS branch!
  (e.g. seal it in plastic sleeve; attach latter to crossbar with string spiralled through holes along sleeve. Can be rolled tightly around crossbar when cycling, tied in place)
Privately owned coffee shops may allow you to add it to their magazine rack if you speak to the person in charge. Your hairdresser may be happy to display it (waiting customers often want something to look at or read).

Posted on 17/6/11: Greenpeace tar sands slide-show during which Melina Laboucan-Massimo, a member of the Lubicon Cree First Nation describes the impact of oil and gas developments and the recent oil spill in the traditional territory of the Lubicon Cree in northern Alberta:

  with involvement with Climate Change issues such as the Tar Sands
    (Kendal area and South Lakeland, Cumbria UK - which is where I live)

is the South Lakeland (Lakes for short) Action on Climate Change Towards Transition

               It's main focus is on local ways of reducing GHG emissions, including the Transition approach
Peak Oil Update January 2010 is a 10 page document on  (page 7 section "Non-conventional Oil" puts the Tar Sands oil production in the wider context of Peak Oil)

SLWDM South Lakeland World Development Movement - campaign for justice for the world's poor. SLWDM  website:
                  National WDM website:

More to add - e.g. SL FoE.

Latest Twitter Tweets

    National/global news  and ACTION
      (for UK and Planet Earth)

For the latest news
visit UK TAR SANDS NETWORK website 

NB: this section will be re-organized soon - because it partly repeats some of the "Recent Additions" section near the top of this page, and partly contains additional information and additional links absent from "Recent Additions"

And selected tar sands news below:

March to September 2011:

Posted 10&14sep11:

VALERO:  Tar Sands diesel to UK via KeystoneXL and Valero ("Texaco" brand fuel stations):   On 1st August announced that Valero Energy Corporation (largest oil refinery Corp. in the US) bought Pembroke Refinery (Milford Haven), 11 terminals and around 1,000 petrol stations in the UK and Ireland - most of which will be familiar to you as the Texaco brand. Valero's US Gulf coast Port Arthur refinery will be the largest recipient of Tar Sands diluted bitumen ("dilbit") via the Keystone XL pipeline if Obama agrees to its construction - in the face of opposition from top climate scientists, Nobel Laureates and many others. Valero's business plan is to refine much of this dilbit to diesel for export - much of it to the EU. The UK now has Valero's first massive retail infrastructure in the EU. (The Pembroke refinery will export part of its petrol to the US East coast.)
Easy quick ACTION:
Please sign  petition to tell  & to stop the  Keystone XL pipeline -  
NB: this makes it even more important and urgent to urge Minister Norman Baker to back rather than block or delay the re-instatement of an effective EU Fuel Quality Directive to stop import of Tar Sands fuel, before Obama announces his decision. I have emailed my MP Tim Farron on this and you are welcome to use ideas within my email to email your MP (inadvisable if you suspect he/she is supportive of the present Government's deregulation policies for big business profit before environment).
SOURCES include:  TAR SANDS IN YOUR TANK - EXPOSING EUROPE’S ROLE IN CANADA’S DIRTY OIL TRADE    Exporting Energy Security – Keystone XL Exposed     BBC Wales News re Valero acquisition
Valero and the Koch brothers are main funders and backers of Proposition 23: the "California Jobs Initiative" - which aims to derail implementation of Schwarzenneger's Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (aka AB 32), because such carbon emissions legislation - especially if copied elsewhere - may restrain future profits from their Tar Sands investments and prospects such as via the Keystone XL pipeline. UK - beware!  - Valero are over here now.        Sources include DESMOGBLOG and SourceWatch. Koch Brothers info.

SUMMARY STATEMENT of Tar Sands Action outside Whitehouse in Washington, DC, August 20-September 3, 2011. 1252 were arrested (including top climate scientist(s)) in the largest sustained act of non-violent civil disobedience in the U.S. nation's history, in an effort to stop the construction of the 1800-mile Keystone XL oil pipeline from the Tarsands in Alberta, Canada to the Gulf of Mexico at Port Arthur, Texas.
See UK TAR SANDS NETWORK web-pages on the Keystone XL Pipeline protest:

= Day 14 of the KeystoneXL Tar Sands Pipeline Protest outside the White House, and author Naomi Klein and Indigenous Leaders from Alberta have joined the protest. For photo & info:
If the Pipeline is constructed it will greatly increase the ease of transport of tar sands products (especially diesel) to the EU and UK. A few days ago the US State Department Environmental Impact Statement absurdly & falsely concluded  pipeline for  bitumen would have minimal effect on environment! -  my tweet on 27august - an ominous indication of how Obama is likely to decide. It would help if the EU decides to make the Fuel Quality Directive effective before Obama decides on KeystoneXL - so as to give him a steering red light - but the UK an Dutch (Shell) Governments have been trying to delay re-instatement of the tar sands oil life-cycle carbon emissions values to the FQD - necessary for it to be effective.
ACTION - see paragraphs below re FQD & CETA.

17july11: postings re the major threat of the Canada-EU free trade negotiations (CETA) are given below (heading

URGENT (21&22june11 postings): Please sign Avaaz petitions - No tar sands in Europe -

Saturday June 18
th was international ‘Stop the Tar Sands’ day

Madagascar - people and environment threatened by oil extraction from tar sands
The WDM website reports that RBS has lent 303 million to the French oil giant TOTAL which is preparing to extract oil from the tar sands deposits in Madagascar. This threatens to cause environmental damage which is likely to include pollution of land and water resources essential for the livelihoods of the poor people there. ACTION: URGENT:  Take 2 minutes to tell @total to stop mining tar sands in Madagascar and destroying livelihoods & the environment of a WDM tweet - june 2011; WDM provide a template e-mail to TOTAL CEO). Also you can help raise awareness to challenge RBS. See WDM web-page

Weasel Diesel?    Threat to make the EU Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) into a greenwash by classifying Tar Sands oil as being of the same carbon footprint as conventional oil:      
The Canadian government (backed by Conservative MEPs) have been strongly pressurizing the EU to dilute its Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) to falsely classify Tar Sands oil as being of the same life-cycle-carbon-footprint as conventional oil, which will make the FQD fail in its primary aim to reduce the carbon footprint of oil used in the EU, and also make the FQD into a "greenwash" for facilitating trade in Tar Sands oil elsewhere in the world such as in its nearby market - the USA. This would obviously be disastrous not just in undermining the aim of the FQD (and ultimately allowing import of tar sands oil into the EU) but also to give it the opposite effect globally on carbon emissions, and also encouraging further destruction of Canada's boreal forest etc, destruction of parts of Madagascar etc.
As a result of the pressure by the Canadian "oiligarchy" and pro-oil interests - a default value for Tar Sands life-cycle carbon emissions was removed from the FQD but EU countries except for the UK and Dutch (Shell) Governments want it re-instated.
Keith Taylor MEP's 29jul11 article on the FQD is worth reading: "Tar sands and Canada's meddling in EU affairs", also his blog.
Earlier this year started a campaign on this with useful info, video, and a very comprehensive standard message for emailing to your MEPs, on this web-page:
     [though spot the accidental error in the template & correct it]
RESPONSES to this from MEPs in NW England show big differences in party lines:
    LABOUR MEP Brian Simpson
    LIB-DEM MEP Chris Davies - to which he appends 14jul10 letter from EU Commissioner
    CONSERVATIVE MEP Jacqueline Foster
    [EU Commissioner for the Environment Connie Hildegaard (14jul10 letter to MEPs)]
In contrast to the responses from Labour and Lib-Dem MEPs - the response from Conservative MEPs is a deception that tries to portray that tar sands oil has a similar carbon footprint to conventional oil:
Click WEASEL DIESEL? (pdf) to read my explanation of this deception (with many relevant facts) - though it is obvious anyhow. (NB: I am continually improving this pdf).
   Some progress towards success:   (UK Tar Sands Network are working hard on this)
8june11 The European Parliament have passed a resolution today that "Reiterates its concern about the impact of the extraction of oil sand on the global environment ...." (full text in WEASEL DIESEL? pdf - and info showing that the UK government has been trying to delay the implementation of an effective FQD by a reluctance to accept that existing evidence differentiating the carbon footprint of tar sands oil from conventional oil is adequate without further evidence distinguishing the more carbon-intensive conventional oils [so it appears that a "plan B" is to delay the FQD if "plan A" for the FQD to be watered down into a greenwash deception isn't being realized]).
 ACTION:  URGENT: Sign Avaaz petitions (see links above).
Also: e.g. write/email your views to e.g. Con. MEPs about their deception, with incisive questions that reveal its flaws.
Also: Write/email your MP to urge Minister for Transport Norman Baker to accept that the carbon emissions of producing tar sands oil are so significantly higher than for conventional oil that this should be urgently reflected in the Fuel Quality Directive, without any delay for emissions data for heavy oils - because correcting the FQD for tar sands oil does not preclude modifications to reflect heavy oil emissions when such data becomes available.
The website provides names for your MP, MEPs etc and a means of contacting them.
Or try

"If you wish to contact Norman in his ministerial capacity please email"
(pasted from Norman Baker's website) Also:  - this url probably primarily for matters in his Lewes constituency

CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) is a proposed Canada-EU free trade agreement under negotiation which threatens to legally undermine EU climate change policy (e.g. the FQD) and increase the already over-large powers of oil companies etc etc (many devils in the details!). Further information: 

CETA THREAT: Ongoing negotiations in Brussels between EU and Canada towards a free trade agreement (CETA) threaten to hugely increase import of tar sands oil into Europe if Canada's government has its way, by undermining EU climate policy such as the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) and giving power to tar sands oil companies to challenge UK or EU social and environmental regulations and policies if they try and limit free trade in tar sands oil. I recommend you read UK Tar Sands Network's "Keep Europe out of the Tar Sands"
and it's link to an excellent CETA-briefing pdf. The write-up of a meeting it organized during this July's round of CETA negotiations is also very informative:
ACTION: URGENT: Having read about CETA you will no doubt wish to do something to remove the worst clauses (or stop CETA altogther!). Do write to your MP and MEPs, and you are welcome to base your letter on my email to Tim Farron MP. Copy and paste sections if you so wish, or use your own words to give it more identity. 

Greenpeace's May 2010 report TAR SANDS IN YOUR TANK shows that some tars sands oil already gets to Europe in petroleum products from the US Gulf Coast refineries (USGC), but that is likely to hugely increase when/if the Keystone XL pipeline reaches the USGC from Alberta with its direct supply of diluted bitumen that the refineries will want to partly convert into diesel for the EU market. The Obama government is yet to openly give the full go-ahead to the controversial Keystone XL. Thus there is urgency for an effective FQD to be implemented before the US gov decision, and free from Canada's interference via e.g. the CETA.
The Keystone XL pipeline [Alberta tar sands to the Mexican Gulf] is also a huge environmental & social threat to the land it is planned to cross, which includes the huge ancient Ogallala aquifer of great importance providing drinking water and irrigation and also to natural habitats e.g. the Nebraska Sandhills (ancient sand-dune area stabilized with interesting flora). Refs: example. It would carry diluted tar sands bitumen ("dilbit") which is known to be more corrosive to pipelines than conventional crude oil and ruptures are inevitable if the present inadequate levels of upkeep of pipelines prevails. - A disaster in the making - unless the Obama government can be steered away from giving it the go-ahead. An effective FQD is thus urgent.          


April 2011

AGM's for BP (14th April), RBS (19th April)
, ... much action by campaigning groups against Tar Sands industries and their financiers. NB: click this link for news etc:
UK TAR SANDS NETWORK - Tar Sands Tour 2011, and read their April Newsletter:

September 2010:

ACTION: FairPensions are now running a “Got Oil?” campaign to urge pension companies to promote environmental, social and financial responsibility in oil companies they invest in such as BP, in the light of BP’s Mexican Gulf disaster. Sign and email their recent draft letter (in collaboration with Greenpeace).
ACTION: They also have links to other Tar Sands campaigns.

ACTION: "Say no to tar sands by joining our tarnishedearth photo petition -
The EU Fuel Quality Directive, a European Union law that would effectively prevent tar sands oil from getting into Europe, has been watered down following pressure from the Canadian government and big oil companies. Join The Co-operative, Greenpeace and WWF in asking the EU to reverse its decision and keep tar sands oil out of Europe."

Shell AGM is on 18th May.: visit
where you can instruct your pension provider to vote for FairPensions' shareholder resolution on the Tar Sands tabled for Shell's AGM. This will highlight your concerns to Shell, even if outvoted by those agreeing with the Tar Sands industry.

      Local news  and ACTION     
     (for KENDAL and South Lakeland, Cumbria UK)

Wednesday April 28th outside the RBS Kendal branch around 8 members of the South Lakes World Development Movement  (SLWDM) held a peaceful demo to make the public aware of RBS's investment of our money into the Tar Sands - mainly by giving out leaflets to passers-by - particularly customers of RBS. For details see BLOG (April 29th) on SLACCtt website. Such WDM demos were held widely over Britain on the same day (date of RBS AGM).

Saturday 1st May 10am SLWDM repeated last Wednesday's demo outside RBS Kendal branch - again for about an hour (we had to end soon after the hour anyhow as we ran out of leaflets - despite starting with lots). A much enjoyed social occasion - including the coffee afterwards (- sitting outside in the sun in Market Square until the rain came).

AUGUST: Climate Camp direct action against RBS financing of Tar Sands, Enbridge pipeline, and Cairn's risky drilling West of Greenland.  See Climate Camp website or see SLACC's website for dramatic photos and videosetc.

For more local related news re Climate Change see BLOG page on SLACC's website.
Or join SLACCtt: You will receive a monthly e-mail with news of recent and future local events including re the Transition movement (Kendal is now a Transition Town).
KOCH - The US oil baron Koch brothers ("Kochtopus") fund climate change denial propaganda e.g. via the Tea Party movement (which they founded & fund via AFP - Americans For Prosperity) which also gets spread by e.g. Murdoch's Fox News. They also contribute (e.g. financially) to the writing and implementation of anti-environment (etc!) legislation both state and federal via a body called ALEC and lobbying for laws that will increase power and wealth for corporations and the rich elite and suppress democracy, health, income etc, etc for everyone else. Another good ref on Koch and Alec: Koch, Exxon Mobil Among Corporations Helping Write State Laws - Bloomberg 21jul11        BACK TO TOP OF NEWS   BACK TO TOP of web-page

BANNER for demos, and demo tips
Click HERE for pdf of banner shown to the right

How you can use the banner

(more to add - but put simply - at demos outside your local RBS branch)

Banner printing and construction tips  (more to add)

If your printer can't print all of image on one long sheet, print on 2 A4 sheets:

1. Before printing, zoom on upper half of image so that lowest visible part of image is just below "CO2" (and top of image still visible).

2. In Print dialogue box for Print Range select Current view.

3. Remember/note what Print dialogue box states for zoom % (should be around 97% to 100%) (I had opted for "Fit to Printer margins").

4. Print top half of image onto 1 A4 sheet.

5. Slide down to lower half of image (don't alter zoom).

6. Again select Current view - checking that zoom% is the same (otherwise the 2 halves won't match up).

7. Print lower half of image onto 2nd A4 sheet.

Improvements to the banner

I hope to add side-arrows from the TAR SANDS box pointing to:

- POLLUTION/TOXINS > diseases in both humans & wildlife e.g. Cancers etc in indigenous communities.

- HABITAT LOSS - Loss of  carbon sink of Boreal Forest & peatland, and consequently of wildlife.

- I need to add "potential" or "possible" to the red arrow box - as we can't be totally certain in predicting future climate change.

In the meantime - you could add these to your prints with a marker pen.
You could also add a big red blood droplet from the B of RBS - to represent "blood oil" - disease and death in the indigenous communities
Photo of banner

(on 2 A4 sheets stuck together)

This banner needs amending:
I would prefer the word "INCREASED" to the word "CATASTROPHIC" because the former is very highly likely as a recent&present&future causal relationship, whereas the latter is a future possibility. Also the banner presently omits the other immediate present-day negative impacts which are visibly obvious with 100% certainty such as the huge habitat losses and effects on indigenous tribes.

BANNER image
Ideas and tips re peaceful demos for your town

 (based on recent demos in Kendal, Cumbria [see Local news above])

Do you have a group in your town - such as WDM or FoE - who might be interested?

1. As a small group stand outside or in the vicinity of your RBS branch with the aim of making RBS customers and other passers-by aware of the issue in the hope that some may be deterred from having their savings with RBS, might write reasons to RBS if they remove their savings, and may even contact their MP or the Chancellor.

2. Hand out the leaflets for example the good one headed "STOP YOUR MONEY SPONSORING RBS' 'BLOOD OIL' INVESTMENTS" produced jointly by People and Planet, World Development Movement, Indigenous Environmental Network and PLATFORM London.

3. Ensure you do not break any laws or obstruct anyone going about their business. Be amicable towards RBS customers  - most will not have heard of the issue.

4. The RBS branch are highly likely to phone the police - especially if you haven't informed them. Thus it is best to inform the police beforehand of your peaceful intentions just to hand out leaflets and that you have no wish to break any laws or obstruct anyone going about their business. Also it is probably a good idea to also inform the RBS branch of this (maybe a few minutes before starting(?)) so that they don't get worried about any possible illegal action against them. By sticking to these guidelines you can repeat the demos.

5. It is a good idea if all or most of you wear something unifying your group to the public (e.g. our group wore WDM T-shirts [- though I wore my Co-op Tar Sands T-shirt]).

6. Banners/placards (like the one to the left) will help advertise - but I have noticed that some members of the public appear to prefer to discretely take a leaflet from some-one without a banner - so probably (debatably?) best to have some with, some without banners - the latter closer to passers-by.

7. Our demos lasted about an hour - afterwards we enjoyed a chat over coffee outside a nearby cafe.

Enjoy it - then you'll feel like doing it again!

This dragonfly1 website is designed by Dr Henry Adams - a Consultant Ecologist based in Cumbria, UK, to help spread awareness of the subjects and to provide links to help visitors investigate for themselves.
     (Apologies for the primitive retro-styling - just too busy to improve presentation.)

Although it is hard for me to verify collated information - which often lacks statement of source, I try to base my own interpretations and views on a critical read of the facts I find, in as near to a "scientific" approach as possible. However - I must also admit an added desire to increase awareness of environmental issues with a view to helping enable appropriate action that is beneficial for biodiversity and for people or communities under threat (e.g. indigenous people). I am not a climatologist - a huge and complex subject, nor have I an in-depth expertise on all the subjects here - some of the information is mostly collated from other websites. Thus for example the facts collated in the TAR SANDS FACT SHEET are from the websites also listed there and I cannot be certain of their 100% accuracy.

As regards the unfortunately highly polarized and hijacked subject of whether man is responsible for the recent global warming trend - I do not hold a belief either way, but instead reckon it is highly likely
that the big rise in atmospheric CO2 resulting from man's activities has had a significant contribution to recent climate change, indeed accounting for much of it (this is the view of most [c.97% of] climate scientists*) - though the exact relative importance of CO2 as a highly likely causal driver for the recent climate change needs more thorough investigation and other natural and often complexly cyclical natural factors need to be also taken into account even though they are less likely to be the prime driver (because the latter have caused climate changes in the past before man became influential, and are likely to continue to do so). It is wise to follow the precautionary principal regarding man's likely influence instead of waiting for 100% certainty or absolute "proof" before changing our ways. The degree of acceptance of man's influence on climate change by climate scientists is now so high that we should work on this basis.

Whatever your own assessment as to the degree that man has or has not influenced the climate, or your level of certainty, one thing is very certain - the huge environmental devastation that the tar sands industry has brought about in Alberta Canada, and the potential similar devastation that threatens other tar sands, e.g. in Madagascar.

* Who d'you reckon is more likely to be correct: denialists (who often have a vested oil interest or high-carbon life-style) - OR - 97% of publishing climate scientists? According to a 2009 survey: 97% of actively publishing climate scientists answered yes to the question: “Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?” PT Doran & M Kendall Zimmerman “Examining the Scientific Consensus on Climate Change” EOS Transactions of the American Geophysical Union, 90, 2009.

E-mail address for writing a comment or question:

Other matters (not Tar Sands or Climate Change, at least not directly): Click HERE

                                                                      I suspect the counter below has been giving falsely inflated readings!
free hit counters
free hit counters