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Monday, December 6, 2010

Canadian Youth at UN Climate Talks in Cancún Call to End Offshore Drilling and Tanker Expansion

Canadian Youth at UN Climate Talks Call to End Offshore Drilling and Tanker Expansion

Cancun, Mexico – The Canadian Youth Delegation (CYD) to the UN climate talks in Cancun are calling for an end to offshore drilling and oil tanker traffic. Outside of the main plenary today the group carried a banner saying, “Oil and Water Don’t Mix,” while delivering messages of impacted communities. 

Offshore drilling and tanker transport are damaging to marine life and coastal communities. With peak oil behind us - non-conventional sources of fossil fuels such as offshore and arctic drilling are becoming increasingly exploited. This dangerous trend cannot continue. Local community opposition to offshore drilling and new tanker routes must be respected to mitigate the effects of climate change and coastal destruction.

“Offshore drilling and the use of oil tankers guarantees disaster,” says CYD member Robin Tress. 

“The question is not if there will be a spill, but when. Government and industry need to leave oil and gas in the ground.” 

Spills cannot be cleaned up, and affected ecosystems cannot be restored to their natural state. The negative ecological impacts of the Exxon Valdez spill in the arctic are still suffered twenty years later and continue to show signs of contamination in local wildlife.

Adam Thomas, of the Carrier Nation of Northern British Columbia and a member of the CYD says, “Canada needs to ban tankers on the Pacific North Coast. It is the only way to protect the jobs, the environment, and above all the communities of this unique place; the last coastal temperate rainforest in the world.”

A motion in the house to be voted on tomorrow would call for an end to tanker traffic off of the BC Coast. This would be a good step in the right direction towards putting in place a legislative ban. 

Offshore drilling and oil tanker traffic promote the expansion of a fossil fuel economy, which is one of the root causes of climate change. As an international community we must oppose the continuation of such projects and promote community-based alternatives to fossil fuels.

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