Updates from action at tar sands upgrader expansion site:

5:00am local time - Sunday Oct 4

After occupying the expansion site of a Shell tar sands upgrader for 24 hours all Greenpeace activists have now been removed from the site by police. The final 9 were taken in the early hours of the morning - in total 16 activists from Canada, Brazil, France, Australia and Sweden took part in the occupation.

The different nationalities of the activists who participated reflects the fact that tar sands development - and the consequences for environment and climate - are a global problem, not just a Canadian one. A lot of criticisms have focused on the fact that 'foreigners' or 'outsiders' should keep out of Canadian business and not try to tell Canada how to manage its resources. But the fact is that the tar sands are the largest capital investment project on the planet - and are being fueled by companies, governments and investors all around the world. This makes tar sands development - and the consquences - everyone's concern.

The tar sands are projected to reach emissions of 140 million tonnes a year - more than the current level of Belgium. This is why 16 of our activists occupied the Shell upgrader expansion site for 24 hours - through cold and rain - to send the message that the tar sands must be stopped.

12pm local time

9:30pm local time

Shell security gather below activists as they ready themselves to stay overnight.


7pm local time

It's raining up here and it's cold, but we're all excited to hear that we blocked work on the site! We heard that they had meant to run a test that takes weeks to plan and we shut it down!

6:30 local time

Activists have been occupying the construction site of a Shell tar sands upgrader facility for 12 hours. Shell has made comments to the media that it would like to arrange a meeting with Greenpeace in order to resolve the situation - and there have been some critics accusing Greenpeace of not being willing to meet with Shell. Greenpeace is willing to meet with Shell representatives. In fact, Greenpeace and Shell have been meeting on and off for 15 years - but the climate doesn't have another 15 years to wait for companies like Shell to abandon deadly projects like tar sands development.

6:00pm local time

Up on the smokestack we are settling in to our tent - our friends on the other crane and stack aren't as lucky, but we are trying to keep each other going. Many workers have been really kind to us. One of us had his bag taken on the way in, but people returned his juice and jacket to him.


1:30pm local time

Activists make their own 'Stop the Tar Sands' banners inside the action.


12pm local time

Activists in good spirits now that operations have been halted at construction site for over four hours.


8am local time

Activists have successfully brought operations on the construction site to a halt.


4am local time

Greenpeace activists entered a construction site where a tar sands upgrader is being expanded. 13 activists are successfully blocking three smokestacks inside the expansion site and one of the construction cranes and settling in for long haul despite temperatures hovering around freezing point in early hours.


It's a busy time for #climateaction- at least, on the part of activists. On the part of policy-makers action on climate change is at a deadlock, as demonstrated at the Bangkok UN climate talks. At a time when decision-makers aren't making anything happen - activists are:

Yesterday a coal shipment was blocked in Svalbard in sub zero temperatures by Greenpeace activists. (70,000 tonnes of coal - to be exact.)


Greenpeace ship the Arctic Sunrise joined the activists in Svalbard after completing a three month tour of the Arctic, researching the impacts of climate change in that region. The results of that trip show - more than ever - that we need those willing to take real action to step up and lead on climate change.

Today activists are once again bringing attention to global climate crime - and taking climate action in the tar sands. The tar sands are the largest energy project on the planet, and the largest capital investment project on the planet - meaning that investors and companies from all over the world are involved in fueling this high-energy, emission-heavy source of unconventional oil. Its total emissions will soon surpass those of entire countries - meaning their continued development threatens the effectiveness of the global climate action we need to happen this year at the UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen. That's why we need to Stop the Tar Sands. [Get more facts on the tar sands by reading Greenpeace Canada's latest report: 'Dirty Oil: How the tar sands are fueling the global climate crisis']

Previous Greenpeace actions in the tar sands have stopped open pit mining operations at Shell's Albian mine, shut down a conveyor belt at a Suncor facility, and now we are occupying the third stage in tar sands extraction and processing - an upgrader facility. (Upgraders are one step in the energy intensive process that takes the tar-like bitumen and turns it into dirty oil.)


See latest above, more updates as they come in

Learn more, watch the action unfold live and support our campaign to Stop the Tar Sands. Spread the word - Facebook.