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Greenpeace Activists Climb Iconic Oil Derrick to Say We Need to Transition to Solar Power

EDMONTON - Early this morning four Greenpeace activists climbed the 40-metre-high, historic Leduc drilling platform at Edmonton’s Gateway Park to hang a large banner saying: “Go Solar: 100% Climate Safe”. They set up a small solar panel on the derrick, using its energy to power a sound system playing music proclaiming the power of the sun. The Leduc oil derrick, which launched western Canada’s oil boom 70 years ago, was chosen as a symbolic location to say it’s time to transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy for the sake of the climate.

“Fossil fuels may have powered the industrial revolution, but it’s time for the sun and other renewable energy sources to power the next,” said Mike Hudema, an Alberta-based Climate and Energy campaigner for Greenpeace Canada. “We thought it’s appropriate to bring our message to where western Canada’s oil industry really began to say now is the time to transition again. For the future of our planet, and the health of our communities, we need to get off dirty energy and usher in the age of renewables.”

Activists also assembled a larger solar array near the base of the rig and held signs saying “Go Solar—100% Spill Proof” and “Solar—Alberta’s Next Economy.” Electricity being produced by the solar panels is powering charging stations on the ground.

“With such highly skilled workers across the province, Alberta is well positioned to build the renewable energy economy we need. Unfortunately, our government’s tar sands focus is blinding us to the province's true potential to be a climate and green jobs leader,” said Climate and Energy campaigner Melina Laboucan-Massimo, a member of the Lubicon Cree First Nation in Alberta.

“Alberta has among the best solar potential in the country but we use less than 1% of our renewable potential. Every home, farm and First Nation can be part of the solar solution. The only thing standing in our way is the hold that fossil fuel companies have over Alberta’s politicians.”

Today’s action is the latest step in Greenpeace’s campaign to urge the governments of Alberta and Canada to support a rapid shift to renewable energy in order to leave the coal and tar sands in the ground and thus avoid dangerous levels of climate disruption. It comes a day after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a major report stating that at least three-quarters of fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground if we are to avoid "severe, widespread, and irreversible impacts" from climate change.

Last month, a speaking tour called Panels Not Pipelines travelled the province to put pressure on Premier Jim Prentice to get off the boom and bust fossil fuel economy and invest in Alberta’s vast energy potential. Greenpeace is also working with Alberta First Nations to bring solar arrays into their communities.

Greenpeace’s petition with four demands for Premier Jim Prentice can be found at:


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