stop pipelines

Tar sands

Aerial view of Syncrude Aurora tar sands mine in the Boreal Forest north of Fort McMurray. © Greenpeace / Jiri Rezac

The tar sands are huge deposits of bitumen, a tar-like substance that’s turned into oil through complex and energy-intensive processes that cause widespread environmental damage. These processes pollute the Athabasca River, lace the air with toxins and convert farmland into wasteland. Large areas of the Boreal forest are clearcut to make way for development in the tar sands, the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada.

Greenpeace is also concerned with the social and health costs of the tar sands. First Nations communities in the tar sands report unusually high levels of rare cancers and autoimmune diseases. Their traditional way of life is threatened. Substance abuse, suicide, gambling and family violence have increased in the tar sands region. Meanwhile, the thousands of workers brought in by oil companies face the boom and bust cycles of the oil economy rollercoaster.

Tar sands companies want to build new pipelines so that they can expand output in the tar sands. These pipelines would threaten thousands of rivers and streams across the country. The increased tanker traffic required to carry this oil would threaten our coastlines. Oil spills would devastate communities and existing livelihoods that depend on a health environment, while the greenhouse gas emissions from producing and burning the oil would fuel climate change.

We have better alternatives.  

How Greenpeace works to stop the tar sands

  • Pressuring governments: The governments of Alberta and Canada actively promote tar sands development and ignore international commitments Canada has made to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Through direct action, we draw international attention to government climate crimes in the tar sands and demand change.
  • Educating shareholders: We meet with Canadian and international shareholders in oil companies and discuss and expose the investment risks associated with tar sands development.
  • Working with impacted communities: We reach out to landowners and First Nations affected by the tar sands amplify their voices and stand in solidarity with them.

The latest updates

 

The National Energy Board’s pro-oil bias on display

Blog entry by Keith Stewart | October 26, 2016

The National Energy Board (NEB) just put out a report that is so biased towards the oil industry that it would make Stephen Harper blush. The NEB updated their 2016 Canada’s Energy Future report (originally published in...

Electric cars could take a big bite out of Canada’s oil industry

Blog entry by Keith Stewart | October 19, 2016

One of the world’s largest credit rating agencies published a report yesterday on how rapid advances in battery technology could make electric vehicles (EVs) a preferred alternative to the internal combustion engine, with...

Canada tar sands in free fall as oil frontiers look shaky

Blog entry by Zachary Davies Boren | September 14, 2016

This blog was originally published on EnergyDesk As the Dakota Access Pipeline becomes the new battleground for climate activists, another, equally significant pipeline drama is unfolding a few hundred miles north. The...

Exxon increasingly isolated in its determination to be a climate villain

Blog entry by Keith Stewart | May 25, 2016

Exxon’s management successfully defeated all of the shareholder resolutions on climate change at their Annual General Meeting today (though one resolution did pass that may lead to change in the longer term). The climate...

The tar sands now have their ceiling, we need to bring it down.

Blog entry by Mike Hudema | December 5, 2015

The night of Alberta's historic announcement of a 100 MT cap on tar sands emissions, I breathed a sigh of relief - the days of the endless expansion of the tar sands were over. The tar sands finally had their limit. The next morning...

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