Stop forest destruction for tar sand oil: say NO to CETA!

The apocalypse, Canadian style: The extraction of oil from tar sand is destroying huge swathes of land (photo: Flickr/Dru Oja Jay - CC BY 2.0)

Tar sand mining leaves a trail of destruction: the boreal forests and wetlands of Alberta, Canada, once home to 600 plant and 300 animal species, are giving way to a post-apocalyptic landscape of strip mines. Mining has polluted the Athabasca River, and the people of the indigenous Mikisew Cree First Nation downstream are suffering from dramatically elevated cancer rates. Canada’s tar sands constitute the second largest oil reserves in the world. While the amount currently reaching Europe is negligible, if all goes according to the oil industry’s plans, it will be 700,000 barrels a by 2020. The impact on the climate would be significant, as tar sand oil releases 23 percent more greenhouse gases than conventionally extracted oil.


CETA: corporations can sue governments

If ratified, CETA – the “Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement” between the EU and Canada – would open the door for the import of tar sand oil into Europe. Under the agreement, corporations will be able to sue governments over environmental laws that could hamper their business. At present, the EU Fuel Quality Directive is keeping tar sand oil out of Europe. The EU had drafted an amendment to the directive with tighter standards, but shelved it in 2011, fearing lawsuits from oil companies under CETA over billions in lost profits.

If this unprecedented corporate power grab is ratified, CEOs of Monsanto, Shell and other multinationals will be breaking out the champagne: bans on genetically modified crops and fracking would no longer be tenable. CETA would also open the door for the TTIP trade agreement with the United States.

The race to ratify CETA is now on, but resistance is stirring in Germany. A German 'no' is the key to stopping CETA throughout Europe. Please call on the German government not to sign the agreement.