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Desmond Tutu: Tar Sands 'Negligence and Greed' Must Stop

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate urges everyone to confront "the moral struggle that will define this century"--climate change

 Desmond Tutu speaking in 2012. (Photo: Mo Ibrahim Foundation/cc/flickr)

 Desmond Tutu speaking in 2012. (Photo: Mo Ibrahim Foundation/cc/flickr)

Archbishop Desmond Tutu railed against tar sands development, which he said "reflects negligence and greed," and urged humanity to come together to fight climate change, the "moral struggle" of our time.

The 82-year-old Nobel Peace Prize Laureate made the comments Saturday at an Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation-hosted conference in Fort McMurray, Alberta.

"The oil sands are emblematic of an era of high carbon and high-risk fuels that must end if we are committed to a safer climate," he said.

"The fact that this filth is being created now, when the link between carbon emissions and global warming is so obvious, reflects negligence and greed."

He also surged support for divestment of fossil fuels, saying, "We need to push [those energy corporations] to do the right thing just as Canadians reached out to help South Africans to rid themselves of the scourge of Apartheid."

Tutu said that "climate change is the moral struggle that will define this century," and added that "it is not only devastating our shared planet, but strips away the rights of vulnerable citizens."

"Who can stop this? You and I can."

"It is not just that we can stop it, we have a responsibility to do so," he said.

Tutu has previously expressed opposition to the tar sands, being signatory to three letters to President Obama from Nobel Laureates against the Keystone XL pipeline. He also joined 20 other Laureates in 2013 in writing a letter to European Commission president José Manuel Barroso stating, "The extraction of unconventional fuels—such as oil sands and oil shale—is having a particularly devastating impact on climate change."

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