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Canadian High Commission Blockaded by Oil Pipeline

WASHINGTON - The entrance to the Canadian High Commission in Trafalgar Square has been blocked by climate campaigners who’ve built a huge oil pipeline around the building. The protest comes as Canadian PM Justin Trudeau touches down in London for the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting.

The pipeline is branded ‘Crudeau Oil’. Climbers have also scaled two entrance pillars to drop banners rebranding the building ‘Crudeau Oil HQ’.

The blockade is a protest against the Trudeau government’s plans to build a huge oil pipeline from the Alberta tar sands across indigenous lands to ports in British Columbia. The massive protest pipeline was installed at 6am this morning by 30 Greenpeace volunteers and runs from the main entrance of Canada House to the consular entrance on Cockspur Street.

Greenpeace UK oil campaigner Sara Ayech said:
“Justin Trudeau’s government is planning a huge oil pipeline across Indigenous lands to take the highly polluting tar sands to global markets.

“Tar sands are the dirtiest fossil fuel on the planet, far more polluting than coal. Building this pipeline would make Trudeau’s claimed climate leadership a laughing stock.

“Trudeau is risking the health of Canada’s rivers and coast, the water supply and livelihoods of many indigenous people, and undermining the credibility of the Paris climate agreement, all to keep some struggling oil companies in profit.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in London this week and trumpeting the importance of action on climate change. He is due to meet leaders of Small Island nations to discuss climate change this afternoon. Trudeau’s support for the construction of oil pipelines to transport bitumen from the Albertan tar sands to the coast shows how hollow his climate concerns are. 

This pipeline would lock in Canada to extracting and refining huge quantities of the most carbon-intensive fuel yet discovered, potentially taking up 16% of the world’s carbon budget under the Paris Agreement. Trudeau’s weak position stands in stark contrast to another commonwealth nation, New Zealand, which last week banned all new oil exploration in their waters. He is scheduled to meet New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern this morning.

The pipelines have been met with fierce opposition from British Columbia, the Canadian province through which the first of the pipelines would run, and in particular from First Nations worried that oil spills will pollute their water supply, and conservationists concerned about the impact on wildlife, including an endangered group of Orcas off the coast of British Columbia. The pipeline runs through Washington state and would increase tanker traffic off the Pacific coasts of Washington, Oregon, and California. Washington Governor Inslee has already come out against the pipeline because of its threat to the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale.  

Victoria Henry, a Canadian Greenpeace volunteer hanging a banner from Canada House, said:
“I’m ashamed that a rich, developed and environmentally aware country like Canada is considering such a destructive and short-sighted project. How can we expect poorer nations, struggling to bring their people electricity, to take climate change seriously when we’re treating our own lands, rivers and climate with so little respect? Trudeau’s idea of climate leadership looks like Trump with a better haircut. It’s a national humiliation.”

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