Durban, South Africa (6/12/11)–Members of the Canadian Youth Delegation and the Indigenous Environmental Network held a welcome party to formally receive Environment Minister Peter Kent and his tar sands pushers to the UN climate negotiations. As conference delegates entered the negotiations this morning, the welcoming committee handed out samples of tar sands on behalf of Kent, along with tourism brochures for Canada’s scenic tar sands.
Canada’s refusal to commit to a binding climate agreement has made it a pariah state at the negotiations. Members of the Canadian Youth Delegation and the Indigenous Environmental Network hope their humble gifts will make the tar sands pushers feel right at home.
“Canada’s cozy relationship with oil industry has inhibited them from making real progress at these negotiations,” said Karen Rooney. “It’s clear that they have chosen to put the needs of polluters ahead of people.”
Over the past few months, Canada has been lobbying foreign governments to weaken both their climate policies and fuel quality standards to protect the trade of tar sands oil.
Meanwhile, the health and livelihoods of many Indigenous communities downstream from the tar sands continue to be threatened due to toxic tailings and the destruction of the boreal forest.
“Indigenous communities have been turned into sacrifice zones in Canada to feed our fossil fuel addiction. We are here to stand up for those communities against Canada’s pollution peddling and support just climate solutions,” stated Ben Powless, of the Indigenous Environmental Network.
A press conference will follow at 3:30pm in the Kosi Palm press room in the ICC.