Activists interrupt UK-Canada talks aimed at promoting the future of tar sands oil“oil-orgy”

Tuesday October, 11th 2011

Protesters interrupted the Canada-Europe Energy Round table [1] in London today, to expose the UK government’s opposition to European legislation, which would label tar sands oil as highly polluting. The campaigners stripped down to Union Jack boxers and maple leaf underwear and covered each other with oil while kissing and groping in a provocative ‘oil orgy’ [2].

“We interrupted the Energy Round table today because the UK and Canadian governments flirtations are developing into friends with benefits. This seedy relationship puts profits for the oil industry and banks ahead of much needed legislation which will curb emissions from transport fuel in Europe,” [2] said UK Tar Sands Network campaigner Emily Coats.

Since PM Cameron’s visit to Canada last month, the UK government has been echoing the position of the Canadian government that the EU is ‘unfairly discriminating’ against the Canadian tar sands [3]. Contrary to Canada’s claims that the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) will discriminate against the tar sands, the current FQD proposal also includes values for other unconventional oil feed stocks, such as shale oil [4].

“The UK government is supporting sleazy Canadian lobbying efforts and today’s Energy summit shows just how intimate they have become to promote the tar sands industry,” said Pete the Temp, climate campaigner and performance poet ( see )

Despite extensive lobbying by the Canadian government over the last year, [5] last Tuesday the European Commission announced its recommendation that tar sands fuel should be assigned an accurate value in order to account for the higher emissions caused by tar sands extraction [6].

“A Canadian government body [7] proved that tar sands extraction is very filthy, yet the Harper government is increasing extraction of bitumen without full scientific knowledge of the impacts on the local environment and the global climate.” said Coats.

In the upcoming weeks the UK will continue to receive Canadian officials [8] as Canada attempts to secure the UK as an ally to stall the FQD directive, which has already received extensive support from the EU commission. The controversial UK government support for the Canadian tar sands industry has received disapproval and outrage from UK climate activists, which shall escalate as the relationship deepens.


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[1] 2011 London Energy Roundtable: Canada Europe Energy Summit

[2] Minister for Transport, Norman Baker, stated the UK government will oppose an inclusion of a tar sands value.

[3] The Cameron government commented “tar sands oil sands should not be singled out as a dirty source in a world that will need oil, and increasingly heavy crudes, for the foreseeable future.”

[4] The directive includes values for a range of transport fuels including shale oil.

[5] See ‘Canada’s dirty lobby diary – Undermining the EU Fuel Quality Directive’ released by Friends of the Earth Europe

[6] See ‘EU ‘tar sands’ stance welcomed’

[7] Environment Canada’s audit

Summary of report by Pembina Institute

[8] Joe Oliver, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources will be speaking at the London School of Economics to discuss investment opportunities and the strategic importance of the tar sands.

The Minister has vowed to fight the EUs’ recent decision

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