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London, UK – The entrance to the Canadian High Commission in Trafalgar Square has been blocked by climate campaigners who have built a huge oil pipeline around the building. The protest, organised by Greenpeace UK, comes as Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, arrives in London for the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting.
The pipeline is branded ‘Crudeau Oil’ in protest against the Trudeau government’s plans to build a huge oil pipeline from the Alberta tar sands across Indigenous lands to ports in British Columbia. Climbers have also scaled two entrance pillars of Canada House to drop banners rebranding the building ‘Crudeau Oil HQ’.
“Justin Trudeau’s government is planning a huge oil pipeline across Indigenous lands to take the highly polluting tar sands to global markets,” said Greenpeace UK oil campaigner, Sara Ayech.
“Tar sands are the dirtiest fossil fuel on the planet. Building this pipeline would make a joke out of Trudeau’s claimed climate leadership. Trudeau risks Canada’s rivers, coast and wildlife while steamrolling an international climate agreement and threatening the livelihoods of Indigenous People,” she added.
The 30-metre protest pipeline was installed early this morning by 30 Greenpeace UK volunteers and runs from the main entrance of Canada House to the consular entrance on Cockspur Street.
Trudeau is attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in London to talk about the importance of action on climate change. This pipeline would lock in Canada to extracting the most carbon-intensive fuel yet discovered, potentially taking up 16% of the world’s carbon budget under the Paris Agreement. Trudeau’s support for the construction of oil pipelines stands in contrast to another commonwealth nation, New Zealand, which last week banned all new oil exploration in their waters.
The pipelines have been met with fierce opposition from British Columbia, the Canadian province through which the first of the pipelines would run, and in particular from First Nations who are concerned that oil spills will pollute their water supply. Conservationists are concerned about the impact on wildlife, including an endangered group of Orcas off the coast of British Columbia.
Victoria Henry, a volunteer from Canada who joined the Greenpeace UK action hanging a banner from Canada House, said, “I’m ashamed that a rich, developed and environmentally aware country like Canada is considering such a destructive and short-sighted project. How can we expect other nations to take climate change seriously when we’re treating our own lands, rivers and climate with so little respect? Trudeau’s idea of climate leadership looks like Trump with a better haircut. It’s a national humiliation.”
The activists are intending to stay in place for as long as possible.
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