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Barlow calls for freeze to fossil fuel extraction

Barlow in Copenhagen

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow has signed on to a statement seeking to keep fossil fuels in the ground.

Specifically, the statement says, “On the eve of the UN Climate Conference to be held in Paris-Le Bourget, we declare our determination to keep fossil fuels in the ground. This is the only way forward. Concretely, governments have to end subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, and to freeze fossil fuel extraction by leaving untouched 80% of all existing fossil fuel reserves.”

In January of this year, the Canadian Press reported, “British researchers [from University College London] have concluded that most of Canada’s [tar] sands will have to be left in the ground if the world gets serious about climate change. The report, published in the journal Nature, says three-quarters of all Canada’s oil reserves and 85 per cent of its [tar] sands can’t be burned if the world wants to limit global warming.”

The statement Barlow signed acknowledges, “We are not under any illusions. For more than 20 years, governments have been meeting, yet greenhouse gas emissions have not decreased and the climate keeps changing. The forces of inertia and obstruction prevail, even as scientific warnings become ever more dire. This comes as no surprise. Decades of liberalization of trade and investments have undermined the capacity of states to confront the climate crisis. …We know that global corporations and governments will not give up the profits they reap through the extraction of coal, gas and oil reserves; and through global fossil fuel-based industrial agriculture.”

But with hope it asserts, “We are confident in our capacity to stop climate crimes. In the past, determined women and men have resisted and overcome the crimes of slavery, totalitarianism, colonialism or apartheid. They decided to fight for justice and solidarity and knew no one would do it for them. Climate change is a similar challenge, and we are nurturing a similar uprising. …We know that this implies a great historical shift. We will not wait for states to make it happen. Slavery and apartheid did not end because states decided to abolish them. Mass mobilisations left political leaders no other choice.”

Barlow will join a new wave of mass mobilizations in Paris this December to demand a meaningful climate agreement from world leaders.

To read the full statement and to add your name to it, please click here. In doing so, you’ll also join with the other signatories to this letter including Bill McKibben, George Monbiot, Leonardo Boff, Naomi Klein, Nick Dearden, Nnimmo Bassey, Noam Chomsky, Olivier de Schutter, Pablo Solon, Pat Mooney, Susan George, Tom Kucharz, Vandana Shiva and numerous others.

Further reading
Barlow calls for protection from ISDS challenges in Paris climate agreement (October 2015 blog)
Barlow welcomes chapter activism in support of the Leap manifesto (September 2015 blog)
85% of tar sands must stay in the ground to limit climate change to 2 degrees Celsius (January 2015 blog)

Photo: Barlow at a rally at the time of the UN climate talks in Copenhagen, December 2009.