Canadian government conspires with big polluters to prevent climate solutions

Feature story - November 23, 2011
Greenpeace released a report today singling out the Canadian government’s collusion with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and tar sands companies like Shell and their intentions of derailing clean energy legislation in the US and Europe, and ultimately discouraging international climate negotiations.


Released on the eve of the international climate talks in Durban, South Africa, the ‘Who’s Holding Us Back’ report details how major polluting corporations such as Shell, BASF, ArcelorMittal, BHP Billiton, Eskom, and Koch Industries, as well as their industry associations are holding back national governments around the world from taking action on climate change

"We want to pull back the curtain on the key companies that publicly declare they support action on climate change, while behind the scenes are using their money, industry associations, and political connections to manipulate government officials, mislead the public and block measures that would break society’s addiction to dirty energy sources like the tar sands," said Greenpeace Canada climate and energy campaigner, Keith Stewart.

The report contains case studies of Canada, the US, the EU, and South Africa. The Harper government is the only federal government in the report that is working directly with polluting organizations, contributing billions of dollars in support of projects aimed at the massive expansion of the oil industry at the expense of cleaner alternatives. Federal government officials and CAPP lobbyists are working closely to prevent any clean energy regulation in the US that threatens tar sands exports.

The report highlights the global impacts of the Canadian government strategizing with companies like Shell, the world leader in greenhouse gas emissions, to ensure the international market and demand for oil produced from the Canadian tar sands continues to grow.

“In Durban, it’s time for governments to listen to the people, not the polluting corporations,” said Stewart. “The Harper government, in particular, must stop working with tar sands companies to derail clean energy legislation in other countries and start taking action here at home to protect Canadians from the impact of runaway climate change.

Greenpeace also began an advertising campaign today profiling President Obama, Prime Minister Harper, Head of the European Commission Manuel Barroso and President Zuma. The artist renderings have the leaders’ faces composed of corporate logos and challenge the leaders in Durban to ‘Listen to the people, not the polluters’. The ads featuring Prime Minister Harper will run on-line and in selected locations in Ottawa.

Greenpeace is calling on governments in Durban to listen to the people and not the polluting corporations, and:

  • Ensure a peak in global emissions by 2015
  • Close the gap between politics and science on emission reduction targets
  • Ensure that the Kyoto Protocol continues and provide a mandate for a comprehensive legally binding instrument
  • Deliver the necessary climate finance
  • Establish a framework for protecting forests in developing countries
  • Address the needs of the most vulnerable countries and communities
  • Ensure global cooperation on technology and energy finance
  • Ensure international transparency in assessing and monitoring country commitments and actions
  • Ensure transparency, democracy and full participation in the UNFCCC process

The Greenpeace report is available for download: